No.728744[Last 50 Posts]
Seeking refuge, the party have fled the Sands, staying hidden in the elusive town of Last Hearth. While they are safe from Lysander for now, they have found that Last Hearth comes with its own slew of problems. The borough is entirely controlled by a party of elites known as the Parliament, keeping hegemony over all its residents in the form of imposing constructs.
While exploring, the party have discovered several things:
The Keepers, mechanical sentinels that watch over Last Hearth, are in fact composed of the corpses of captured criminals.
Several areas of Last Hearth are marked as "Condemned" - though what this means and why is unclear.
The Parliament are a reclusive cabal, operating in and around a building known as the Parliament House.
An event known as the Night of the Hunt has been organized, due to happen in two weeks. This involves the mass slaughter of slaves purchased from the nefarious Chanticleers, and the subsequent reclaiming of their corpses to a place called Morrilcole, though to what end is unclear.
Perhaps most importantly for the party, Silver and Aegis have met a waif called Lilura. Afflicted with a disease that renders her vulnerable to fractures, Lilura has been pining to escape Last Hearth for a long time. She has offered to trade her entire supply of stockpiled goods in exchange for being smuggled out.
Hermodur, Rabi, Silver, Aegis:
You keep moving, continually making your way through the towering, point-roofed buildings of Last Hearth. You've found that due to the circular design of the town, it's quite easy to find yourselves going in circles. On every corner is a Keeper, and Observers lazily float through city streets. The citizens all look malnourished, keeping their heads down, most not giving you more than a second glance. Occasionally, the large gramophone-like structures placed throughout the city will blare a message, always with the same educated male voice.
"Evil can walk in any form and take any flesh. Stay vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to your nearest Keeper."
"Feeling wretched? Can't make ends meet? Fear not. Morrilcole Home for the Disadvantaged is here to help."
"Please remember to have authorization papers on you at all times if entering a Parliament area or if engaging a Parliament member in conversation. Violations will not be taken lightly."
"Ensure you are well rehearsed in all breach protocols. There is no excuse for panic or confusion in the event of a drill."
"Visiting from abroad? Need someplace to call home? The Sudbury Building is now open for free unlimited lodging, assuming you pass the physical condition exams."
Eventually, you run into each other - almost literally. You are on one of Last Hearth's many street corners, all nigh indistinguishable from each other. You're not sure which way to go to return to the ship, but at least you're together, for now.
Dawn smiles, and Etrigan nods. "Yes, though through no effort of our own, I must confess. Zunden here did all the work in reconnecting us. We are deeply indebted to her for this. Hopefully, in time, the connection can be shared between all of us. …Or we can find a way to restore his voice, he says. It would be much simpler…"
She looks a bit confused at your concern. Etrigan seems to tell her something, and she touches her muzzle. "Oh. I hadn't even noticed. It must have been from passing through the Doors just now. Ever since I've started my research, I've been able to reach further and further with them. But, it does seem to take its toll…"
Etrigan's usual air of melancholy is replaced by a staunch sense of determination. "He says that even if you do not accept… he is here to help. Whatever you need of him, he will provide. …I feel the same, truth be told. We all owe you our lives many times over."
Norv enters the room, underdressed and looking rather shabby, like he's been in a scrap. He doesn't seem too injured, though.
"Hmm… so, that leaves Etrigan, Zunden, and Dawn then. yeah? I think Dawn was still on the ship, but I'm not sure…"
>>728655>"I followed some Chanticleers to the parliment building, snuck in to get a look around, and killed a keeper. R&G are hanging on to my mask and coat because I ran away from a few others and I'm sure they got a good look at me. There's this event where people hunt down slaves, and the Chanticleers supply them. That's in two weeks. I'm not hurt, but I have a lot of planning to do. I'm sure the others are fine. I split up from them at the place you sign up for the hunt." I tap my finger against the side of my leg and think for a second befote glancing down at Purdue "Did I miss anything?"
"You.. You killed zomeone Norvigecuz? Are you zure zhingz are okay? Zhey zaw who you are, and you came in wizh ze ozherz right? Are zhey in danger?
Zunden nods, though distracted by the news from Norv, "I.. zhank you, I appreziate it. We can zpeak more on it at anozher time, zhiz zoundz more prezzing.
"Oh, I'll be fine. I- I think I just need to lay down for a little bit. I didn't actually kill
someone, thank goodness. The keepers are- well, they're weird. More like robot zombies than anything. The others shouldn't be in danger. I split up with them pretty fast, and nothing I did had anything to do with them, but-" I rub the back of my neck. "Well, I guess maybe
they could question them or something? But I think they'll be fine. The whole reason I left them was because I didn't want to put anyone in danger.">>728745
I knit my brow. "Jeez. Well, don't overdo it." I study her for a second. "So you can open doors further away now?"
Surprised to find each other so soon, i greet everypony with a wing. "Ah, wonderful, we've found you! Aegis and I have some.. interesting news to share about the supplies, when we've privacy for it." i add, gesturing to the keepers further away.
"How goes the rest of you?"
"Yeah, lucky us- this place feels like some sort of maze. We had Norvegicus, but he's… busy, I suppose. Other than that, I think we're fine- a little creeped out, but fine. Have you seen Zunden, by chance? We wanted to hook back up." he says, before tilting his head to the side. "And, yeah- we could talk back on the ship, maybe."
"Hmnn… I ztill worry for zhem. Do you ahve your Harbinger by chanze? You could contact zhem and make zure zhey're okay.
, but I sent it to them so they'd know I was alright. I told them to meet back here tonight."
''We have not seen her no. What about you two? Have you found anything noteworthy?'' Aegis glances between Hermodur and Rabi
"Zunden? She mentioned staying behind to research a few artifacts. In theory, she should still be on the ship."
"She had passed me the bits for the supplies earlier, though it seems for the most part this city is too lacking to be of much help."
Dawn nods back understandingly. "Likewise." She and Etrigan focus their attention on Norv, for now.>>728748
"Yes. And for longer. But it wears me out, as you can see. I'll have to do more research into it. There's still much I don't understand about the Doors." Both she and Etrigan seem interested in your own escapades.>>728747>>728748
Soon enough, you hear the others returning from their expedition, making their way back on board.>>728746
"Zunden returned to the ship, as I recall, along with Etrigan, Dawn, and Violet," Marisol points out.>>728749>>728753
"This place is even worse than we thought," says Marisol grimly. "They're buying slaves just to kill them and using their bodies for… something. I dread to know what. We were told they were to manufacture more Keepers, but that can't possibly be right. They have plenty of them as is…"
"And you? Did you manage to find anything noteworthy?">>728749>>728750>>728753
Reunited with everyone else, you make your way out of Last Hearth. You find yourselves being watched by an Observer for much of your trip back. When you get to the main entrance, you find that Rosen and Gilder seem to have been allowed entrance eventually, though business seems to be going dreadfully for them, with not a single customer inspecting their wares. In fact, they seem to be packing up to leave already.
Moving on, you head towards the treeline, and eventually get to the ship. You can hear Zunden, Norv and Dawn on board already.
''Yes, but that is better discussed in the ship. Come''>>728751
Approaching the ship's group, Aegis was the first to speak up
''We found supplies, good ones, but they come with a catch. The one offering them would like to be smuggled out of the city with us. This is not a requirement for the goods, but a separate favor they asked''
My ear twitches as I hear the others return. "Huh. I guess they were closer behind me than I thought.">>728756
I chuckle. "Straight to the point without even saying hi. Whoever it is, I don't blame them. That place is terrible. How much are they offering?"
"It seems to me that their obsession with building more observers has begun to borderline on paranoid. They've stumbled upon a fantastically clever system that corrects itself. Use the criminals as a system that prevents crime. When crime rises, so does the anticrime unit. When crime falls, so too does the need for as many observers. Thus, they naturally end up with less. It's like an ecosystem in how it is self-sustaining."
"Unfortunately, they seem to have lost sight of that elegance."
"Goodness.. whatever they need them for, it must be quite severe, given the volume of slaves the chanticleers were carrying.">>728756
"Yes, she mentioned travel through the aqueduct as a possible route out of the city with the supplies, though they remain guarded. It would result in a fight most likely, but when the alternative is a drawn out brawl through the condemned mines, this proves much simpler."
''Food, Good food at that, water, some essential supplies and a couple of trinkets. All very useful for us. But I suggest we do not take their request. If we are caught trying to bring her out of the city with us, it will be considered a crime, and that is a risk we cannot take in our current situation''
"Mnn, my only worry again iz how they have recorded all of your namez. We already have bountiez in Braildorn, do we wizh to continue zhiz trend in ozher townz? Even wizh dizguizez, if a band of five to zixz are zeen zmuggling out a rezident after a band of five to zixz juzt entered ze town, zurely zhey would draw a concluzion.
"Geez, crowd's that rough?" the stallion asks as they spot Rosen and Gilder, frowning a little bit. "Sorry about that- I guess people here are just sorta… I unno, cagey.">>728755>>728756>>728759
"Oh, right- might as well hop on and talk with the others then, yeah?"
"I mean that's only if we get caught. The point of smuggling is to not
get caught, right?"
"Ah, that would be why travel through the Aquifer would be our safest choice, provided we assist her. By her account, a lighter level of guards would let us slip through without issue."
''Indeed, this just further complicates the situation. It would be best if we simply took the supplies and left, telling the Dog who offered them that we will return to rescue her later''>>728763
''That will be nearly impossible, Master Norvegicus'' Aegis refutes ''Their surveillance is incredible, and they examine anyone that leaves the town. Even if we manage to escape without being caught, it will be like Zunden said. They have records on us and every resident of this place. Once they realize one of them is mysteriously missing right after a band of travelers visited the city, they will connect the dots and put a bounty on our heads''
Aegis stared at Norv with her usual cold gaze ''It is not worth it to soil our names on whats possibly the last safe haven in the Echoes for us all just to fulfil the desires of a sickly Dog''
You find Zunden, Norv, Dawn and Etrigan sitting in the dining room, deep in conversation. Dawn looks like she's been through the wringer, having a slight nosebleed and looking rather disheveled, but otherwise in good spirits. Etrigan greets you with his customary deep nod, while Dawn looks glad to have everyone together. "Ah. Hello again. Good timing. I was waiting on everyone to arrive. I have an announcement to make, if you have the time.">>728758
"Or, there's another reason they want those bodies," Marisol muses. "I don't think I want to know the truth.""If you ask me,"
Purdue chimes in, "they're up to no good. Norv wanted to try and sneak into the Parliament House to investigate a bit. Those red cloaked creeps are hiding something. I can feel it in my bones.">>728760
Dawn listens in on the proposal, frowning slightly. "And you're sure we can just take their supplies without helping them? That hardly seems fair to this person. Perhaps I could help through the Silver Doors?">>728761>>728765
"To be fair," Marisol points out, "how likely is it that we'll be back here any time soon? This place is awful enough as is. If even Lysander's failed to get his claws in the place, it's insular enough that we shouldn't have to worry about repercussions outside of its walls. Right?">>728762
Rosen just grumbles indistinctly. "They keep watching us," Gilder points out, gesturing at an Observer that's hovering in circles around their wagon. "And none of the citizens want much to do with us. Nothing for us here. Only reason we're staying for a bit is 'cause we owe your mate Norv a favor."
"That then raises the issue of taking the supplies with us. I've a suspicion they would be quick to confiscate that much food and water, should we try and leave through the gates, 'noble's property' and all that."
I scoff and point in the general direction of the city. "You call that
shithole a safe haven?" I shake my head. "No. It's just as bad as any bandit or cannibal camp we run into. The only difference is at least the bandits and cannibals don't have any delusions of being peacekeepers. It's not totally impenetrable. I almost made it into the Parlement house with just me and Purdue. I would've made it inside, too, if I didn't break the keeper and set off this alarm thing they have."
I nod. "That's why I was asking, dawn. Not specifically to help this dog -though it seems like a good idea now-, but because I still plan to help the slaves. Nothing about this place sits right with me, and I can't just leave."
"Right. Well, I hope things go better for you two at the next stop, at least.">>728766
"Jeez, Dawn- are you okay?" he asks, wincing a little bit as he looks her over. "Have you, uh… have you been getting enough sleep?" he asks, his ears folding back as he regards her with concern. "A-And, uh, what's the announcement?"
''Its at least safe enough from Lysander. Whoever is ruling the place could be a formidable foe even for him. Or at least I hope so, either way this is not the main issue. We cannot risk any of us being caught, imprisioned or killed. It will be even worse if they have a mind reader in there. Who knows what will happen if they know we have the egg, and understand its importance''
"Ah, your experiments are going well?" Hermodur asks with slight concern as Dawn begins her announcement.
"Do not mizinterpret my concernz az a reazon not to help one in need, Aegiz Glaze.
" Zunden says, in a quiet but stern voice. "I azk ze ozherz to be careful, not to abandon zomeone zlowy dying in zhere.
"Pleaze, let uz not zquabble. Multiple in ze party are ezpecially profizient in being clandeztine, in zhiz caze I believe we would do well to have a few do ze opperation and move ze zuppliez wizh ze bag of holding and ze magic carpet.
"Norvegicuz haz made mention of zlave hunting eventz zhat take plaze outzide ze zity, who knowz if zhey would track down zheir criminalz az well.
''I am only stating what I think of this matter. Do you really want to take the risk of the entire existence on someone who will not be remotely useful in the long run? She only wants us to drop her off in the next town over''
''Besides, we could simply do this later, once the Egg is safe''
"We cannot make a journey to hide away ze Egg wizhout zuppliez to get uz zhere,
Aegiz Glaze. I will even take ze anger of one town if it meanz we will not ztarve on our travelz. Zo unlezz you can conjure food out of zhin air, zhe iz uzeful.
" Zunden crosses her arms.
''Perhaps I did not made myself clear.'' Aegis said calmly ''It is not required that we take her with us for the goods. She said she will willingly giving them to us, regardless if we help her or not''
"And that doesn't sound-" I wave my hand, pretending to search for a word I obviously already have. "Completely horrible and immoral to you?"
''Somewhat'' She states plainly ''But what will it matter that we get her out if it ends up potentially getting the egg taken from us?''
"Zhe can be taken to ze next town wizhout ever being expozed to it, Aegiz. Your paranoia knowz no boundz, conzidering it iz one dizeazed diamond dog admizt an entire crew.
''That is not what I am worried about, Zunden. My paranoia, as you call it, is fear of any of us being caught, imprisioned and having the Egg be known by whoever governs the Last Hearth. Do you really want to risk having another one like Lysander in our hands?''
"Zhen how do you plan to remove ze zuppliez covertly, if getting caught taking her iz zuch a cauze for conzern.
" Zunden asks, voice gradually gaining more strength the longer the conversation goes on.
Dawn seems a bit worried about the notion. "It's one thing to smuggle a person and some supplies out of town, but another entirely to try and thwart the rulers themselves. Are you sure you know what you're doing?">>728770
She notes your concern. "I'll be alright," she says, with a smile. "The past few hours have been taxing. But I've made a breakthrough. I think you'll find this quite interesting.">>728771
Dawn nods. "I don't think it's a good idea to intervene in this whole hunt situation. But we do need supplies. And, if we can secure a safe and secret path, it wouldn't hurt to help someone in need. My Doors could help. Silver, Violet, Norv and Rabi are all adept at going unseen. I'm sure we can come up with some sort of plan.">>728773
"That's true," Marisol concedes. "But I've been traveling the Echoes far and wide for some time under Grosvenor, and no one had ever even heard of the Parliament or the Keepers until now. All we knew is that Last Hearth existed. They don't seem to wish to draw much attention to their activities, is the point I'm trying to make. I have good reason to believe we'd be safe from them if we put good distance between us.">>728772
"Better than ever. In fact…"
Dawn clears her throat. "I don't mean to steer the conversation away from the task at hand, but you'll want to hear this. Zunden already knows. Well… it's about the sword Rabi brought me. And the magic contained therein."
"As you probably know, I've been hard at work trying to discern the thaumic properties of that sword. Being linked to the rainbow portals that deposited us all here, I believed that I could perhaps glean a little more on the nature of said portals by studying the sword's enchantment."
"And I believe I've made a breakthrough. A revolutionary one. Something that hasn't been accomplished before."
She pauses for dramatic effect, looking excited to share her discoveries. She rummages around before pulling out a glass vial from her cloak. Inside is a strand of smoke, curling and twisting of its own accord, shining every single color in the rainbow.
"I… I think I might have succeeded in incorporating this magic into my Silver Door spells. They are certainly much more effective now. But they seem to take a toll on me physically. But that's not the half of it. I have a theory, about the nature of this place in relation to the Dominion from whence we came."
"Indulge me. In certain magical circles here in the Echoes, I have used the phrase 'the other side of the sky' used in reference to this dimension. Perhaps you have too. I have an idea. What if it's not just a turn of phrase, but a literal one? What if the reason those portals appear in the sky of the Echoes is because this dimension is tethered, physically, to the Dominion itself?"
"Pure conjecture, of course. No evidence to it as of now. But I believe if I keep pushing hard enough with my Doors - perhaps emboldened by more of such magic - I might be able to open one to the Dominion itself. And that would be… well, I'm sure I don't have to emphasize how much this would break the world, if it's true. I could potentially be the first in millennia, if not the first in existence
, to bridge the Echoes and the Dominion."
"Well, in theory at least. I might very well be wrong. Truth be told, part of me hopes I am. I can't imagine what would happen if the bridge between worlds was formed, and things from both worlds spilled into each other."
"Another thing. Through Zunden's genius and hard work, my good friend Etrigan has regained his voice. In a manner. He and I share a bond now. I will speak for him, at least until we find a way to restore it for good. But it is the first step to helping him."
"That's… that's about it. I thought you'd all want to know. There might be a way to go home again. A sliver of hope. But still hope."
Violet speaks up. You hadn't noticed, but she slipped into the room while Dawn was speaking. She seems to have been taking inventory of the ship beforehand. "That's… incredible," she says shakily, "and… and terrifying. I can't even imagine what would happen if… if it worked." She looks over to Norv, her worries abated for a moment, smiling under her cloth mask.
Marisol looks gravely concerned at the news, not speaking up just yet, brooding over it quietly. "A way home,"
Purdue muses. "What is home, anyway…"
Listening as she explains her findings, my eyes light up as she mentions a means of returning home.
"Really? You're saying there's a chance of leaving this place after all?"
"What a lovely thought, leaving this nonsense behind and returning to relative normality.."
"You mentioned your doors are more effective, how so? If we could simply cast a door from their hiding place to our ship, we could circumvent this entire situation!"
''You said it yourself. With the Bag of Holding, which will be much less suspicious, unlikely to be extensively examine, and even if it comes to that, we can simply say those were ours all along'' She replies, her own tone as calm as ever>>728782
Aegis turns to Dawn, and lowers her head, defeated. ''So be it. If you insist on saving her and have a plan for it, then I will do my best to help and ensure none of my fears happen''>>728783
Aegis simply stares at Dawn, her eyes a bit wider than usual as she hears her speak
''That is indeed incredible. Master Dawn, you have discovered perhaps the most valuable power in this Realm, being able to escape it. Once we safely store the egg away, I insist we extensively discuss about this matter''
"You… you did? That's incredible, Dawn. The physical toll is concerning, so, you know… d-don't push it, please." he says, offering a soft smile. "It's good that you can help Etrigan speak, too- n-not that writing back and forth with you has been tedious or anything, Etrigan. It'd just be good to hear you, and all."
"But, back to the point- I guess I see where that'd make sense, and all- if they were able to open a portal and push us 'here', it only makes sense that the right kind of portal would, well, send us back. Things spilling out is a little, ah… concerning, though. Is there any way to test it?" he asks, before looking to Purdue and humming in thought. "That's a good point, actually- not all of us really came from the same Dominion, I think. I guess we'd be going back to whatever 'when' is closest, maybe?">>728784
"Maybe she needs to know the place herself? I'm not really sure, but maybe she could… provided it isn't too straining, of course."
"How would that even work?" Hermodur shakes his head at the notion of connecting the two worlds. "We're not even chronologically locked to the Dominion. How could we be physically?"
"I mean it sounds like she's outnumbered anyway, so-" I shrug.>>728780
"Help or not. Seems like a few of us still want to do it.">>728782
"Honestly? No idea. And I don't have much time to figure it out, either, but I still think I should try. Probably not thward the whole system, but at least try to save a few of the slaves." My ears fold back and I glance to the ground. "Be nice if I could save more, though. Still gonna try.">>728783
My jaw drops a little at the revelation. "Are you serious? I figured it was possible somehow
, but never would have guessed it was so close." I walk over to Violet and stand beside her. "Yeah. Terrifying is right. Not something we should just toss around willy nilly. A lot of the folks and things here really probably shouldn't be getting back home."
Ignoring Aegis' first comment, Zunden nods with Aegis' final one as well as Rabi's first comment.
"I have had zaid ze zame zhing, more or lezz. It iz exzellent newz zhould we hide ze egg away, zo now iz ze time for Dawn to rezt, recover, and ztart to practize zo zhat zhe may make her portalz wizhout zacrifizing herzelf in return. After all, if you are not alive to create ze portalz, zhen nozhing will have been gained. Zuztainability over hazte.
''Very well, then I will help, if at least to ensure it will not end in failure''>>728789
''So what will be the new plan then? Take the egg out of the Echoes and seal it away safely back at the Dominion?''
"Definitely. I'd hate to lose her because of a portal she made- no matter how important it'd be."
"Don't get your hopes up too much," Dawn warns. "It's only a theory. As I said, there's nothing to back it up. Until I can experiment more with these amplified Doors, it's only a hypothesis.">>728784
"I can only open doors in places I know well. Or that others do, and can describe in full detail. I'd have to travel to this person you've come across, and open a door from there. I don't know if I could do it, though. The last time I opened a door, I almost passed out afterwards…">>728786
Etrigan nods, looking happy. "He says he's looking forward to speaking with you as well. Hopefully soon."
"That's another thing. If we could find one of those portals in action, it would help my research immensely. They are a one way trip, but there has to be a way to make it go both ways. Or at least, if I could study one in action, I could try and replicate their properties more easily. As for testing it, well, I don't remember too much from my time in the Dominion. I've been here quite some time now. I don't think I could replicate an area from it in my mind. But, if I shared the memories and vision of someone who knows it better, perhaps I could try to open a door… Hm…">>728786>>728787
"I'm glad you asked. …I have no clue. That's the biggest flaw in the Tether Theory, as I like to call it. Chronomancy was never a subject I studied extensively, but from the little I do know, I have the notion that the Echoes do not exist in the same "frame" of time. It exists, but time has no meaning to it. In other words, if time in the Dominion is a line, then the Echoes are a fixed point. If that makes sense. Though, again, it's likely I'm wrong.">>728788
Violet nods in agreement. "If this works," she says forcefully to Dawn, "then we can't share this with anyone. Imagine if word got out that there was a way to go back. Everyone would want to do it."
Dawn nods, looking grim at the implications of her theory. "As I said. If I'm right about this - and that's a big if - it's the discovery of the century. I don't even know what I'd do if I could open a way back."
Violet looks a bit worried about your talk of saving the slaves and causing trouble in Last Hearth. "Is that what you've been up to?" she asks under her breath. She looks worried to death all of a sudden. "O-on your own?">>728789
"Right, right." Dawn looks even more tired all of a sudden. "We should all get some rest. But first, we ought to settle what we're going to be doing about the supply situation. And this person seeking refuge. Do we have a plan yet? I don't think I could use my doors too much, not for a few days at least."
"Zhat iz… hmnn.. zhere are great evilz in ze Dominion too, it would be too rizky to leave it in ze handz of whoever findz it zhere.
"Do you have a method of sharing memories with someone?" Hermodur asks Dawn. "If not, I think I might have an alternative solution."
''Still, it is big, and if you allow me, I would like to study this further with you when we can, and regarding the issue researching a portal into action… I think maybe I could help with that. I have a certain talent for understanding magic I see, as you could tell. I'm still not certain, but I think I can 'read' the leftover magical energies that echo from the spell, so if I can do it for a portal from the Dominion, I might be able to transcribe it''>>728793
I rock on my feet, tap my finger against the leg of my slacks, and glance away. "I mean, when you put it like that it makes it sound like I did something reckless and needlessly dangerous. But hey! Get this! I don't know if I just got lucky, or I've gotten really good at sneaking around, but I made it through just fine!" I turn to her and hold my arms out to show I'm more or less completely unharmed.
"Ah, dang. So, that is going to be a bit of a problem… well, cross that bridge when we get to it, right? We know what we've got, and… if it works, we know what we need, I guess. I didn't even know Chronomancy was a thing, honestly."
"Our planz for now do not change. After ze egg iz hidden in zhiz dimenzion, we will figure out what it iz we need to finalize ze portal magic.
"I would not know, I would zhink it would be ze two couplez zhat would be mozt adept at planning zuch a zhing, given zheir exzpertize in ztealth.
''I thought you were going to take a break after the egg was dealt with''
"Yez, multiple zhingz can occur after we deal wizh ze Egg.
" Zunden says flatly.
Marisol frowns with disapproval from the sidelines, as if knowing what you have in mind.
Dawn shakes her head. "Zunden might be able to help. The same way she linked me to Silver's sight, or Etrigan to my mind. If you have an alternative, I'd be curious to hear it.">>728795
Dawn nods. "And with your mimicry, I could have a better sample of the magical forces from the portal. …Well. We'll have to keep an eye out for portals, won't we. Or that is to say, you will. Heh.">>728796
Her brow furrows, and as you hold out your arms she hugs you after a moment of hesitation. "Norv… You can't keep doing this. First the whole Kairon thing, now this…. At least take one of us with you next time. If you get yourself hurt, or captured, or killed, I… I don't know what I'll do." She gives you a little squeeze and pulls away. "Promise me, Norv," she says earnestly. "Promise me you won't just run off and get involved in these things by yourself anymore?">>728797
"It's one of the more esoteric branches of magic. Far beyond even my reach, to be honest. Far too complex. And dangerous. Very dangerous. But yes, we'll have to find a way for me to access one's memories at some point. Otherwise there's no point in following this train of thought any further.">>728798
"…Right. Well, if you have any ideas on how to approach this, I'm all ears. It's not exactly my area of expertise either. Hm.">>728797>>728796>>728784
Dawn addresses you along with Violet. "So, to the task at hand. You are the ones most suited to stealth operations. Do you have any ideas on how we could smuggle out the supplies and this person in need of safe transport? I'd be willing to help with my spells as best I can, but I'd need time to convalesce after today."
Hermodur reaches into his pocket. He pulls out the vial with one last remaining drop of Dreaming Spring water. He stares at it for a moment, his hand trembling.
"This…" he says as if it takes him effort to speak. "Is Dreaming Spring water. A drop of this will make you dream about whoever you think of when you drink it. You will see what they are doing at that very moment. If there is someone you can think of who is certain to be still in the Dominion, then think of them when you drink this. Then, you will see the Dominion as clearly as if you were there. If all you need to be able to open a door remotely is to know the place, then this is what you need."
"I… I'm not sure, really. I could try and scout out ahead and make sure everything's okay, but I'm not particularly good at sneaking around. I'm also still a tad concerned about the changes, but… as long as I'm careful, it ought to be fine."
"Well.. We had discussed the issue with our soon-to-be benefactor earlier. According to her, the thinnest areas of city security would be the mines, which are filled with whatever creature they mentioned earlier, and the aqueducts in the northeast sector of the city."
"If we were to follow the Aqueduct to it's outlet in the mountain with cargo in tow, we should be able to load the ship and leave without alerting too many keepers down below."
"I-" My ears fold back. She's right. I probably shouldn't just wander off, but- I nod. "Alright. I just didn't want to drag anyone else into it. But I was getting somewhere with Kairon! I just got a little too lax. I really think she could have changed, at least enough to not backstab us."
I turn to Dawn. "Well, I got some of that vanishing dust from Rosen and Glider. That would make sneaking around easier. There's also thay black robe thing. That thing also helps, I think." I shrug. "If you wanted to take a couple days to rest, what if one of us snuck in, loaded all the stuff into the bag, and sent Rabi's bird messenger back here to describe what the place looked like? If you needed we could try to find somewhere closer to the gate. If that don't work then I'm sure we can figure something else out."
Zunden nods along, listening to the others.
"Following zheir ideaz, I do believe I could have ze zhip pozed and ready to leave at any time where ze manage to make it out. I zhink it would be bezt if we were ready to leave immediately, inztead rizk a chanze at guardz boarding ze Fate'z Fortune, zhould zhey be zeen.
Aegis nod, not amused by Dawn's joke ''I will keep close watch. It helps that my room has a big window to the outside so I can keep an eye out from there''
''I have something that might help as well'' Aegis produces a dark blue cloack ''The Raven's cloack I bought earlier. I wouldnt mind borrowing it to either of you if needed''
I cock my eyebrow. "That's the robe thing I meant. Huh. I thought Silvy had it. Anyway, yeah. That on top of the dust should make it really easy to get around without being seen."
''I bought it before her. I thought it'd be more useful for me than it would be for her, but maybe I was wrong'' She says, floating the cloack in front of her, staring at the piece of clothing with an unreadable face
She seems apprehensive, from the tone of your voice. "Dreamwater… I have heard of it only in passing. It is a rare gift. …Are you sure you want to use it for this?" she asks. It is dear to you. I can tell. If I am wrong about all this… I would not want to squander it.">>728803
She nods. "Your astral projection will be of great use in scouting a path for us," she agrees. "Perhaps you and Aegis could even scout it together. She knows it too, to an extent.">>728804>>728806
"That could work," Violet pipes up. "Especially if we have the ship waiting up on the mountain itself, instead of at the aqueduct. It should be outside of their patrol area, right? Course, then we'd have to risk crossing the aqueduct without being seen at all…">>728805
"I'd rather get dragged into things than have you suffer alone," she says adamantly. "I don't want to nag, I just don't want you getting hurt. I don't really get what you've gotten mixed up in now, but I'll try and help you out of it."
Dawn nods. "That's certainly an option. Perhaps it would be better, though, if I myself went and took a stroll around the area? I may be blind, but I can still make out areas enough to be able to open doors to them."
"I was actually thinking you could accompany Rabi in his astral form," she suggests. "If you can mimic spells, you could try doing so with him. Between the two of you, you could cover more ground undetected."
''I was thinking of copying your Portal spell'' Aegis replies to Dawn ''But I suppose this also frees up the cloack for either Master Silver or Master Norvegicus. So be it''>>728803
''Are you ready for this, Master Rabi?''
Hermodur stares at the vial. "What if we… mixed the two ideas?"
"Surely, with all the magic those of us are capable of in this room, we must have some way to share a dream? Then, I could drink the dreamwater, and you could see it through my own dream."
"Hmm.. Given my practice with moving stealthily, i'd imagine Norvy would find more use for it."
"Though i must say it does look quite lovely, Once this is over i certainly wouldn't mind holding onto it" i add, batting my eyes at the stoic unicorn.
"As ready as I can be, I suppose. Do you need to do anything to prepare, Aegis? Or, are you good to go?" he asks, flicking his tail at the 'Master' title. No point in saying anything about it now.
"Yeah. Alright. Sorry. Honestly I don't think I've really gotten myself into
anything just yet. Just planning to."
I look at Dawn. "You mean, like, just go into town and walk around? Would you-" I pause and shift uncomfortably, not sure how to ask this next part. Finally I settle on, "Would you want one of us to go with you?"
"I will get ze zhip moving.
" Zunden says, affirmatively.
''I'll let you keep it if you give me something worthy in exchange''>>728816
''I just need to see you do it, then it'll be much easier for me to follow along'' She sat patiently
I look down at myself and hold my arms out. "You think it'd actually fit me alright?"
"Well, alright. Let's see if I can get this started, then.">>728815>>728811
"We'll go ahead and do some scouting, then. Hopefully we can find a couple good routes, just in case." the stallion says, settling down and beginning to focus.>Astral Projection
Aegis watched silently, and closed her eyes, there was a very faint glow to her as she concentrated>taking 6 for Spellsnatcher
"Well.. maybe. While we have the time, we may as well have you try it on while we have the time. Better to find out now than while the plan is underway."
"The choice is yours," she states plainly. "Either would be a good option. Though, the Silver Doors are taxing enough on me right now. If you haven't used them before, they might take quite a lot out of you.">>728814
"Perhaps," Dawn nods. "If Zunden was able to bind my mind and Etrigan's, among other uses, I'm sure she could do the same with dreams. Though, we should focus on the task at hand for now. Where will you be, during this operation?" she asks.>>728817
"Are you offering?" she asks with a smile of amusement. Violet frowns a little. "I would appreciate the company, certainly. …Etrigan says he will accompany me. If you wish to come with us, you are more than welcome to.">>728816>>728821
You sit down and focus for a while, departing your body. As you do so, something odd happens. You feel a sense of disorientation, and your vision warps and heaves, distorting in a flash. Your mind feels like it's split across space and time…A dimly lit room. Shelves of old books, scrolls and trinkets line the walls. You stand in the middle of a diagram of chalk, in the shape of an unfamiliar symbol. A Felid, black and white, dressed in a red cloak, stands before you, her paw outstretched, face unreadable.You collapse to your knees. It feels like you're being torn apart at the joints. Your paws - paws? - vanish, then reappear, then vanish again. it spreads to the rest of your body. Your very essence is split across existence. You scream in abject terror and agony. It's not your voice. "What… What's happening to me?!…"
The vision passes in a flash, and you find yourself floating above your body as before, semi translucent. A bit of testing reveals you can still fly about as before.>>728822
Watching Rabi as he begins the Astral Projection, you copy his magical methods and do the same. Before long, you find yourself watching your own body slump over. Looking down at yourself, you see you are see-through, and floating a few inches above the ground. Rabi, presumably due to being more adept, seems to be able to properly fly while projecting, light as a feather.
Aegis watches as Rabi floats nearby, then glances down at herself before looking back at the spirit Stallion and nodding, waiting for action
Hermodur puts the vial away.
"My only goal is to protect my friends. So, I will be between them and danger."
"Besides, I think there is still disagreement over what 'the task at hand' is."
I nod. "I gotta go back into town to get my stuff back from R&G anyway. Probably gonna take the bag so I can hide it. No reason I can't go with you then.">>728823
"Yeah, probably best to find out now."
Rabi shudders as he feels his mind and vision warped, pulled, and twisted well beyond what it should be. He's done Astral Projection plenty before, but it's never been anything like… this. He's only dimly aware of the fact that, whoever this is, it isn't him. He watches as his paws (paws?) flicker in and out of sight. He doesn't have long to focus on it before he feels the uncomfortable sensation spread across his body, threatening to pull him apart at the very seams. He squeezes his eyes shut and opens his mouth to scream, and when he opens them… it's gone.>>728825
Rabi is indeed floating some distance off the ground, and looks rather… distressed (It's up to you and RustRivet if you saw any of his screaming or shaking during the vision.) He shakes it off and looks to Aegis with a nod, before slowly lowering himself back down to the ground. "Well… ready?"
The horrible sensation of being pulled apart at the seams of your very existence fades in a heartbeat. You're not even sure if you just imagined it all for some reason. It's as if another's soul bled through into your body for a brief moment.>>728825
Rabi seems disturbed by something as he appears next to you, but otherwise his Astral Projection is nothing out of the ordinary.>>728828>>728825
Together, you exit the ship and make for the walls of Last Hearth, completely undetected by any of the Keepers or Observers. As you float through the paved stone streets, a blaring reminder from one of the gramophones issues a reminder that Last Hearth has a curfew from 9pm to 6am. It's likely that if the party are to move under cover of night, they will have to reach the aqueduct first without being detected.
Additionally, the north-eastern end of town, which seems to be heavily centered around fishing and ferrying downriver (giving this district its name, the Waterworks), seems to have a variety of paths leading to the top of the great aqueduct, a towering, brutalist stone structure that looms imposingly over the pointed cobble buildings. With a bit of finesse, perhaps you could find a path that will take your group up to the aqueduct undetected…>roll Navigation
"Hrm… we're going to want to take a route that'd be easily accessible on foot, or with a lot of stuff. Man, it'd be easy if we could just fly over it." the stallion remarks, floating a little further off the ground.Roll #1 9 = 9
''Master Rabi'' Aegis spoke up ''When we were at the shifting sands, you tried to Astral project, but after a few minutes, wounds started appearing on your body. You met with someone who could see and fight you in that state, yes?''
'1d10' navigationRoll #1 8 = 8
"Yeah, that's right- a Felid named Elaina. She tried to go after me then and there, but I managed to dissuade her. From what I can tell, your Astral Self can transfer injuries over to your body, so be careful if you're ever doing something like this- Elaina's not the only thing I've run into while projecting."
''What do you suggest we do if we find someone like her now?''
"Well… I think I could actually deal with it to an extent, actually. I trained with Dawn for a while on a neat little bit of Astral Magic, and I developed a version that works in reverse- or, it should. I think. I haven't tried it, but the idea is that if I met someone on the Astral Plane, could knock them back into their body. If it doesn't work, or I do it wrong, I'd say the best thing to do would be to either call it off and return- I'm not sure if someone that's Astrally Projected could be 'knocked out', so they might just keep fighting until they… you know."
''A valuable skill. I ask for fear we might have to face off against someone skilled in the astral realm'' Aegis looks down at her hooves ''I dont know if am able to cast in this state, so I might not be that helpful, if such a thing happens''
Looking around, you see a handful of paths you could take to haul the supplies up to the aqueduct:
You could take a system of iron ladders on the side of the aqueduct. It is a long, grueling path up, from the looks of things, and every so often it seems to open up onto an adjacent structure. It doesn't seem like Keepers are too active here, but traveling up several ladders hauling cargo could prove difficult, not to mention noisy.
There's also a narrow stone stairwell on the side of a building. While access is blocked to you due to your astral forms, it seems you could take this path; however, it does seem to be occupied by Keepers, though only occasionally. With some finesse, you could go this way, but you'd have to deal with a Keeper or three, and risk raising the alarm if one of them gets away.
Alternatively, there's the canals, at the very bottom. Much of the architecture of Last Hearth seems to be layered vertically, and the ensuing path is somewhat of a maze of ladders, stairs, sewers, and ramshackle wooden beams. Navigating this area looks dangerous, and those without wings would risk falling down into the lower levels. Looking over a ledge, you can see that the area seems to be shrouded in fog, making it easier to sneak about undetected; however, you can occasionally see very faint lights in the fog, implying there are other, more sinister denizens of Last Hearth in its depths.
''Perhaps our best choice will be the under parts, through the canals. Its likely no Keepers or Observers roams the area to avoid things worse than them''
Roll #1 9 = 9
"Could be, yeah. The ladders seem too hard, and too loud, and we're not sure how quickly the Keepers can communicate with each other. It'd be pretty narrow, so it's not like we could all run right after it. Maybe we ought to check what's down in the canals? I can float us in and out of it."Roll #1 10 = 10
''Good idea. Let's go then'' Aegis extended a hoof to Rabi
Rabi grabs Aegis firmly by the hoof, and floats the two of them over to the canals, and starts to descend. "I've got no clue what might be down here, honestly. Whatever's down here won't be aware of us, barring something particularly bizarre."
You pick your way down into the canals. Though your sense of smell is dulled in this form, you can still make out a foul, unrelenting stench of sewage, blood and rot. The fog makes it difficult to see more than a few inches ahead of you at a time.
You soon see the source of the lights you saw from above; bizarre constructs are on patrol here, crawling on the walls of the canals, well equipped to traverse the vertical maze. They resemble giant beetles made of wood and metal, with their heads replaced with a blinding floodlight. They seem to travel alone, or occasionally in twos. They don't seem to be able to fight back if engaged. Their purpose is entirely unknown for now.
You are also aware of a faint sound of hissing machinery coming from somewhere to the southwest, as of a giant, underground factory. After a bit of observation, you realize that the fog that covers the canals seems to be emanating from this mysterious source, as are the beetles, presumably.
It doesn't take long to secure a long-winded, but fairly secure path to the aqueduct. You get a little turned around in the fog, but after what feels like forever, you manage to clamber up a set of stairs and to the top of the aqueduct.
You have a great view of the landscape from here; Last Hearth is completely circular in shape, barring the far eastern districts which seem to extend into the mountain the town is nestled in the shadow of. Great walls divide the town like spokes on a wheel, leading towards the ominous, cathedral like building at its center, the head of command known as the Parliament House. You can see black smoke belching from one of its spires, for some unknown purpose.
A quick assessment reveals that the aqueduct is divided into three levels:
The topmost level is the most heavily guarded, but also the most open. Traveling it would give you a clear, straight shot at the mountain beyond.
The middle level is moderately guarded, but seems complex to navigate, having several gates and intersecting paths throughout, which culminate in a structure where the mountain is. This structure's purpose is unknown.
The lowest level, where you are now, is much like the canals, guarded little but shrouded in fog, and patrolled by the beetle constructs. The same structure that the middle level leads to extends downwards, having a second floor accessible from this lower level. It seems that if you were to take either of these two, you'd have to enter the structure to access the mountainside.
''Doesnt seem like we will have trouble with the Guards if we take the bottom path, but those beetle-like machine worry me. I didnt see any weapons but they didnt seemed to besearching for anything… They might be some kind of patrol as well''
Aegis takes a moment to observe the top rows ''On the other hoof, if we make a mad dash through the guards on the top level, we might be able to escape. The middle level is complex and takes too long to traverse and has a considerable guard, so I think that one can be written off as an option''
She glances back to the stallion ''What do you think, Master Rabi?''
"So, it looks like we're going to have something to deal with no matter which way we go. I've got no idea what these beetles even do, though… at least they don't look hard to deal with, and aren't in big groups. We'll probably want to be careful if we go down too far- it might contaminate anything we drop, from how it smells." the stallion says, grimacing.
"Hrm… I'd say the bottom path, I think. As much as the top path might be the straightest, we'd need to be careful not to lose supplies. Maybe we follow alongside them for a little, and then we can offer both to the whole group?"
''We should inform everyone of all possibilities ahead of time so we can make a proper plan'' Aegis says, turning back to fully face Rabi
''That was a good observation, however. I think the bottom path might end up being the most viable from what we gathered so far, but just to be sure, we should give it a through look. I want to observe these beetles a bit more and see if we can find the source of this mist''
"Good thinking, Aegis- might as well see if the bugs are the only thing down there, yeah?" he says, leading them own further, and along the canal.
Roll #1 1 = 1
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
You start following the source of the sound of machinery, doubling back and moving down into the canals. The smell starts to get stronger, and the sounds louder. It's starting to reach the point where it seems to be coming from everywhere.
You get turned around more than once as you explore. Grimly, you see several corpses in the waters of the canal, half submerged in the sludge and seeming having been dismembered. Not by some beast, from the looks of things. The cuts look too clean for that. On one occasion, you see such a corpse being investigated by tw of the beetle constructs, grabbing the remains and dragging them out of the canal. The constructs then rear up, and, to your surprise, a gout of flame bursts from their undersides, beginning to incinerate the corpse. It seems it's their duty to cremate remains.
You keep searching for the source of the machinery sound. It gets to the point where you seem to have found it, though what you witness doesn't seem to line up; you're at the center of town now, beneath where the Parliament House would be. You are facing one of several thick, iron doors, marked with the same rune you saw on the main town gate. Three Keepers stand guard at the door, blocking entrance. On the brick walls are mounted tiny iron grates, from which seeps the fog that blankets the canals. The sound of machinery is loudest here, and seems to be coming both from behind the door and from beneath your hooves. There doesn't seem to be a way in for you, though, given you are in astral form.
You notice that there are more Cremators than usual around here. One of them seems to pause in front of one of the Keepers, exchanging information with it via a series of coded flashes of light from its lantern head.
"Well… this is rather unsettling. With all the corpses, and the stench, it might be better to risk a higher passage than try for this one- especially if you have to pass by here."
Aegis takes a moment to examine the place
''Its odd that we ended up here, considering the path we took. Maybe the mist made us lose our way'' Aegis walked past Rabi, and began to walk back, but stopped and glanced back at him ''Should we return and report to the others? There is nothing for us here''
"Maybe, yeah- perhaps we try to look through here a little better, to find a nicer route? Through the bottom here, that is."
''It will be hard with all the mist, but I suppose if that's your wish, it wont really hurt to try. Lets go''
'1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
You press on. With a bit of searching, you find a path that would take you well away from the entrances to this strange underground factory; however, it is precarious, leading you across a set of narrow, rotting wooden planks, exiting into an alley on the surface with a set of empty animal cages strewn about carelessly. This path is no threat to you in this state, but in your physical form it would prove much harder, especially if weighed down by cargo."Attention citizens."
One of the public announcements begins to blare. "Please remember that the curfew will be in effect in approximately one hour. Please begin to return to your homes. Malcompliance is punishable by one week in a Condemned zone."
"Yeah… this isn't looking particularly good. We might need to take a different route."
Aegis's ears perked up at the announcement, and she turned to Rabi ''Indeed, this is too dangerous of a path to take. let's look for a few minutes longer and then return to the ship''
Aegis took the lead, searching for a different path
'1d10'Roll #1 6 = 6
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
It seems that any way you slice it, navigating the canals isn't going to be easy. However, after following a less beaten path past an abandoned, eerie looking house, you find a set of stairs that leads into the canals. Through this section of the area are a set of four distinctive stone bridges, which take you on another path through the canals that seems more out of the way than others. You barely see any Cremators around here, and eventually, the path loops around and up another flight of stairs to the aqueduct. It seems quite safe, for now. There's still the issue of which path to take through the aqueduct itself, but for now, it seems you've managed to secure relatively safe passage through the canals, away from prying eyes.
''This…'' Aegis appraises the area for a second ''Seems promising. Shall we head back and report what we found?''
"Yeah, this is worth reporting back on. Good job, Aegis." the stallion says, smiling a little.
She simply nodded, emotionless, and began to return her counciousness to her body
You close your eyes and focus, feeling your souls traveling through the astral plane as you return to your physical forms. When you open them again, you are back in your bodies, back on board Fate's Fortune
with your companions.>>728826
"Well," Marisol points out, "first things first we have to restock on supplies. And to do that we have to figure out our plan, involving this waif Silver and Aegis ran into. Speaking of which…">>728823
"Miss Song," Marisol asks, "who is this benefactor you and Miss Glaze encountered? The one that will give us our supplies. She wants transport, right? Do you know her name?">>728827
"I'll come with you," Violet chimes in. "I haven't gotten the lay of the land yet. Don't really know what we're up against. I reckon I might be able to find some good paths if I do."
Dawn looks to the silent elk. "Etrigan?" she asks. "…..He says he will remain behind, for now. To help with the ship." Another pause. Dawn seems a bit surprised by what he's said, but nods. "Suppose there's no sense in delaying, then," she says to you, and rises to her hooves, picking up her walking stick. "Ready when you are.">>728818>>728827>>728823>>728826>>729037
After quite some time, Rabi and Aegis return to the physical plane. When they do so, however, a set of deep cuts open on Rabi's face, like fierce claw marks simply bursting into existence. Those who were present during the skirmish at the Hive would notice that they line up with the injuries he received while Projecting at that time. These marks do not seem to bleed, but rather glow a pale yellowish white as they burst open before slowly fading into dark scars across his face. Etrigan looks intimidated, while Marisol looks deeply disturbed. Violet does a bit of a double take, appearing worried about his safety. Dawn is completely oblivious.>>729036
As you return, you feel a faint stinging ache across your face, like an old wound returning. The others seem disturbed by something about you…
"R-Rabi?" Violet asks. "Are… are you okay? Your face…"
Rabi shakes his head and groans a little as he wakes back up in his body, and rubs at the aching parts of his face. He re-focuses his eyes and looks at the rest of the group staring at him in worry. "I'm… I don't know, really. Is something wrong with my face? What's there?"
''It was glowing'' Aegis states as she fixed her mane ''Your scar, specifically. Has this happened before?''
"It hasn't, no. I'd thought those had healed up, but I guess…" he lets out a nervous sigh, before saying "I guess that sorta seals it, then. I'm not sure how, but I think I've been… connected. Linked, somehow, to Elaina."
Zunden looks to Rabi with worry, "I do not know if zhiz iz a wound I can heal, if it iz damage to your zoul. It lookz az if you have opened an old wound, az one would wizh a zcab. Did anyzhing zimilar happen in training?
I knit my brow. "Oh, we're going today?" I shrug. "Well, alright. Guess it couldn't hurt to go ahead and get it out of the way."
I reflexively take a step back as I see Rabi's face. "Is that from- Is that from before? Are you okay?"
"For now? Yeah, probably. I'm just concerned what happends from here on out.">>729186>>729185
"Elaina. The Felid working with Lysander. She's the one I bumped into on the Astral Plane during the fight at the hive. She scratched across my face then, so this is almost like some sort of… odd re-scarring from that. Linked to her would make the most sense- not that this makes any sense to me, really. When I shifted out of my body this time around, it wasn't like before. For a little, I was… somewhere else, or sometime else, or something. I think I was seeing a piece of her life, through her eyes. She was trying some sort of spell or ritual, and it went really wrong. It tore her in-between two planes of existence, I think."
"Lilura, yes, her and her brother were preparing to leave the city, though the latter was captured by the keepers and moved to the condemned zone. She was more than happy to part with the supplies and interested in our assisting her."
"I could try to invoke Zeveranze to break ze connection, but I am ztill learning runez, I do not know if it'd be dangerouz. Haz it zeriouzly harmed you or debilitated you?
"What in the world happened to you!?" Hermodur asks with shock and concern.
After replying to Marisol's question, i turn to notice Rabi's wound, rushing to him wide-eyed and panicked.
"Rabi! Are you alright?! Do you need Zunden's healing?"
Violet doesn't respond, looking at you with worry.>>729184
"My sister?" Marisol says in disbelief. Dawn looks over with curiosity. "A link between you two through the astral plane? How fascinating. Why, I can't say I've ever heard of such a thing.">>729188
"Or tomorrow," Dawn shrugs. "I suppose it depends on when we wish to put this plan of ours into action.">>729189
"She wasn't trying. You can thank Grosvenor for that," Marisol says bitterly. "She used my sister as a guinea pig for her experiments with sigils. I don't know if it was the intended effect, but… well, you've seen what she is now. Grosvenor wanted to make her the perfect assassin for her needs. She succeeded. My sister is enthralled to her now. Bound to her. If she ever disobeys her, or betrays her, or even displeases her… she dies. Just like that." She looks down at the ground broodingly. >>729190
Marisol nods. "I see. So our task will be ever harder for it. I only hope these supplies are worth this twofold burden…">>729190>>729189>>729188>>729186>>729183>>729192
Dawn seems about to launch into bombarding Rabi with questions about his experience, but Marisol speaks up again. "This bodes ill," she says, referring to Rabi. "If you are connected to her, she might be connected to you. Which means, over time, you could find where she is… and vice versa." Violet and Etrigan look concerned over the idea of Rabi being turned into a walking camera for the enemy.
Violet speaks up again, looking to Aegis and Rabi. "So, um… did you find anything on your search? There has to be a path we can take, right?" She looks a bit antsy.
"I don't think we should jump to any conclusions yet. We don't know if the effect works both ways," Hermodur says as he sits down and crosses his arms.
"Besides, unless we intend to just abandon Rabi, there's not much we can do about it."
"No, today is fine. Just didn't expect it. Let me get dressed first."
I glance between Rabi and Marisol and shift uncomfortably. "Do you think that'll be a problem? Should we think about that before actually hiding the egg?"
''Hmm… Perhaps something happened when you two faced off in astral form. Having both your souls clashing must have left a mark that went beyond your body'' Aegis pointed a hoof at Rabi ''She branded your very being with her own, Master Rabi''>>729194
''We found a path. It took us a while, but we chosen a route that we believe will be the least dangerous'' Aegis tells Violet, then turns to Marisol
''So, what would happen if Grosvenor died? Would that break the bond with your sister?''
"Az I have zaid, I could attempt invoking zeveranze, but I would like to at leazt be zure it would be zafe for Rabi before attempting a ritual. I may zend a mezzage to Black Pudding inquiring to him on ze matter.
"Concerning indeed.. As zunden said, it may be best to speak with Black Pudding about this connection, and perhaps refrain from casting the spell until we've learned more.."
"I'm not fully sure, but it's tied to my Astral Form… and now, in a way, to my physical form." he gestures to his snout. >>729191>>729192
"That's sort of what concerns me. The vision I got of what happened to her was… horrible. I don't think I could begin to describe what it felt like, to be torn apart like that. I know it's affected me- the scarring on my face, for instance- but, it's changed other things. I can float while I'm Projecting, for starters, which isn't normal from what Dawn explained. And the visions, and… this. I'll try to keep everyone informed, in case anything else changes. I wouldn't want you to force yourself too hard, especially with this new 'Severance' rune.">>729193
Rabi strokes Silver's cheek a little, and nuzzles against her snout. "I'll be alright, Silvy. I promise. I'm sorry to worry you.">>729194>>729198
"I'm not really fully sure what to make of it- I'll keep you informed of any other visions I get. Maybe they'll be… I don't know, maybe I'll see something important. The link might go both ways, so I'm not sure what she could see." he says, before looking to Aegis, and nodding. "I think you're right- we traded blows for a little while, so maybe some sort of… bleed-over happened. That's the most I can think of for now.">>729199>>729200
"Waiting is probably for the best. Like I said, I don't know what kind of connection this is. Severing it now could potentially hurt either of us, or both of us. Hopefully Black Pudding'll have a better idea."
"Right, in terms of what we set out to do- well, we've got a few options. We've ruled out a couple already, and decided the best option would be… the canals. There's three routes; the uppermost is the most guarded, but it'd be a straight shot. The second one is lower down, and still somewhat guarded, though not as heavily. The last one isn't guarded, save for some mechanical beetles that look to be on body collection… I think. They're not armed, and do't look capable of hurting someone. The lowest level is pretty foul and maze-like, to boot. Both the middle and lowest routes would require a bit of climbing at the end, I think."
"Mozt importantly, do you plan to go wizh ze crew planning to hide away ze egg? It already zoundz az if zome are ztaying behind, az not to burden zhemzelvez wizh ze knowledge.
"Well, it didn't happen again until now, so maybe it's tied to Projecting? Think we should limit it?"
''I hope you are right. Or else we will have to consider continuing the journey to store away the egg without you''
"Should I stay behind? I'm not sure what kind of stuff could be shown through this connection if it is
He looks to Norv, and nods a little bit. "Yeah, it only just happened when I projected. As handy as it is, I might need to limit how often I do it… though, it might start with less-recent stuff first."
"Perhapz you and zomne ozherz could zeek out Black Pudding wizh ze Compazz while zome of uz hide ze Egg. Zhat way, you can learn more about your condition and perhapz azk him wayz to wipe one'z memory, zo zhat you may inform uz when we return."
"Communication is key in these sorts of situations," Hermodur advises. "More heads are better than fewer. Just inform us of anything seems even slightly relevant.">>729199
"Are you sure Black Pudding would make the situation BETTER?"
"True," Dawn nods. "Though if this signal works one way, it could hypothetically work the other. Perhaps further testing is required…" She seems eager at the prospect of experimenting with unknown magic.
"If it doesn't," Violet points out, "we can use it to our advantage, to avoid wherever they are. This could be big for us.">>729200>>729199
Violet still looks a bit sour at the notion of dealing with Black Pudding. "How would you contact the likes of him?" Marisol asks with a frown. "He's not the type you speak to unless he wishes it. And he could be anywhere in the Echoes.">>729197
"I think we ought to know more before we decide what to do about it," says Marisol. "Only time will tell, I suppose.">>729201
"A bleed through effect would make the most sense," Dawn nods, rubbing her chin. "Perhaps >>729198>>729202
Violet nods and smiles under her mask. "Good, good! We have a clear shot at this then." "Fingers crossed it'll pay off," Marisol chimes in with an approving nod. "Fine work, you two.">>729202>>729203>>729200>>729196>>729195>>729198
Marisol speaks up, weighing the options Rabi presented. "It sounds like the lowest level would be our best chance. I'd rather risk some filth and creatures than stirring up the Keepers. Though, it could be harmful for the cargo, come to think of it. If our supplies get ruined, this whole venture is for naught."
Violet gives her two cents. "If the middle section isn't too guarded, maybe we could sneak through under cover of night? I'd rather not have to fight our way out, especially not with a bunch of supplies on us. And Marisol's right about risking damage to the cargo, too…"
"If we manage to find a hiding spot on the upper level," Dawn points out, "it'd be much easier for me to open a Door to the ship. I'd offer to open one from the get go, but the recent experiments have taken a lot out of me. I don't know what would happen if I tried using them at too great a distance." She looks over to Etrigan. "…He says he'd rather brave the lower levels. If we do that, I don't know if I'll be able to help with Doors much. But perhaps it's safer in the long run, if there really aren't any Keepers down there."
Violet looks to Purdue on Norv's belt, as if asking for his opinion, only to be met with a soft snore. The skull is fast asleep.
"By themselves the Keepers aren't that hard to fight," I add. "You just gotta unwind 'em. I doubt there would only be a few, though. I still say we check out some of the out-of-the-way areas and give Dawn a couple'a days to recharge. If we could port outta there it'd save us a lotta trouble. I know there was this one house I found that was condemned. That could be an option as long as we don't go too deep. It's right in town and didn't look like any observers or keepers ever went in." I run my hand across the top of my head. "But yeah, if we don't do that we're probably best off sneaking around. I have six doses of the vanishing powder, so that would help." I knit my brow. "I wanna keep some of it, but I don't mind using some to help. Anyway, that'd get us pretty far on its own even if it wasn't enough to get us completely out. I think I'd rather risk the first or second level. I don't really like the idea of fighting who knows what."
''Having smaller ranks will be a disatvantage to be considered'' Aegis mentions>>729209
Aegis turns to Violet and Marisol ''He could be anywhere, but there is a way that he could be found. Lilura had one of the enchanted compasses that lead to what you want''
''What do you mean for naught? Wasnt fulfilling Lilura's wish much more important than getting the supplies to the ship?'' Aegis speaks up, but it was impossible to tell if she was being sarcastic or not>>729210
''Perhaps we could traverse the middle levels divided in two parties. One goes in front and silently dispatches of the Keepers and observers in the way before the others follow along. The first party could be Silver and you with your vanishing powder''
"A bleed through effect would make the most sense," Dawn nods, rubbing her chin. "Perhaps if I had access to more knowledge of the Astral Plane, we could find answers… It's curious that you're accessing Elaina's memories. I wonder if she'll experience yours in turn."
"Ah, but perhaps the compass will help us find him! Provided he hasn't invoked a severance rune himself, we could do as Zunden mentioned and dispatch a few of us to speak with him, with the compass as guide."
"As for the route through the Aqueducts.. Perhaps the middle option may be the better choice. A hooffull of keepers to avoid would be preferable to a cargo potentially falling into the muck.."
"What of the carpet we have on hoof? I suppose if we find a tarp of some sort and drape it over the carpet, we could keep it as clean as we can down there.">>729210
"Certainly an option, though the longer we stay here the greater the odds of our plans being revealed."
"We have zpoke zinze you have left, and enchanted ze zhip wizh a rune zhat preventz zcrying on it and it'z inhabitantz. Ze warlock iz well verzed in many topicz, and az long az he iz treated wizh rezpect, he offerz ze zame.
Rabi rubs at his neck a little from the compliment, before saying "I'm just glad we managed to find a good route. I was a little worried there wouldn't be one worth taking, at first… anywho. That bottom route was pretty foul, and I mean it; the scent strong enough to leak through on to the astral plane, which probably means it was pretty significant. With corpses down there, we've got no clue what kind of nasty stuff's festering down there. The door idea Dawn suggested sounds pretty good, provided we give her some time to recharge. Failing that, sneaking through like Violet could be good, if we need to be hasty.">>729209
"Is there a way to even test this stuff? Maybe, I don't know… can you try to feel out some form of seepage, or taint on me?" he suggests, before frowning a little in thought.>>729213>>729207
"That could be pretty good, actually. As long as I only have to wipe the egg-related stuff from my mind. I'd rather not forget a lot of the other stuff, like you guys."
"Henze why I'd offer to allow you to travel to zeek out Black Pudding wizh zome ozherz while ze Egg iz being hidden. You will have no information needed to be removed, but you'll be helping zhoze zhat will need it. While zhere, you could zee if he haz knowledge of ze zpirit form, and pozzibly your connection.
Rabi manages a bit of a chuckle, and offers a nervous smile. "H-Hey, it's not like they could make it too much worse either, right?">>729212
"I wish I knew more about it, too- despite how much I do it, I've just sort of been feeling it out. Maybe, hurting each other in the astral plane sort of… smeared a bit of our minds on each other. Instead of blood, it's memories?">>729216
"As long as you'd be okay if we split up- I'd hate for you guys to get hurt while me and anyone else that came with me was gone…"
"Ideally, I plan to travel to a location no one elze dare travel. Our greatezt enemy will be ze location, not our antagoniztz."
"Unwind?" Violet parrots, blinking in slight confusion. "What's that mean?">>729211
"The supplies are our priority," Marisol answers. "We can't risk damage to them. Otherwise, our plans will be for nothing, and we'll be at square one again. Harsh as it may sound, this Lilura person isn't our primary goal.">>729213>>729211>>729207
Marisol blinks. It doesn't seem it had occurred to her to use the compass. "Hm. Perhaps a parting of ways would be in order, then… Though, we should decide on where we'll take the Egg before we get to that. First things first, though. Retrieving supplies." She clears her throat, clearly trying to save face. "Maybe we could move in two groups, like Miss Glaze suggested. It could throw the Keepers off our scent, and lighten the load for both groups.">>729215
"Well that sounds lovely," Marisol comments dryly. "I think it might be worth it if we do as Silver said and use the carpet to protect the supplies. Maybe we should wait a few days, and Dawn will be able to transport us more effectively. We could bypass much of this planning in general if so." Dawn nods. "I'd be happy to do what I can, after a bit of time to convalesce.">>729217
"Perhaps," Dawn nods. "Or perhaps it's something deeper than that. I only hope the connection doesn't go too deep. The last thing we need is Lysander's allies spying on us."
"They could get the egg and destroy the world," Hermodur deadpans.>>729214
"Can we afford another detour, though?">>729219
"Do we really need to split up just to find supplies?"
"Hmm.. A diversionary tactic to hold the keepers' attention, perhaps. Our larger group makes a ruckus of sorts on, say, the top level, while a smaller group leaves through the middle level uncontested. We load the items on, then Zunden will fly the ship low enough to jump on for our escape."
"..of course, waiting for Dawn to rest may prove a simpler choice. Far less likely to injure ourselves that way."
"Yeah, it's real pleasant. Especially with the bugs delivering them to be… cremated, I think." he says, shivering a little. "The carpet could probably help, as long as everyone's able to find a way to plug their sense of smell, too."
''That is exactly what I said before, but the others seem to disagree''
''No, we cannot decide where the egg is taken now, or else the knowledge will be free to be taken from the minds of the group that leaves the ship''
"Henze zplitting ze group to do bozh at ze zame time. Having lezz people aboard ze zhip az we hide ze egg meanz lezz witnezzez to ze egg'z final hiding plaze. Even better, it may take ze trail off of ze zhip if it iz known memberz of our group are traveling a different direction.
"Az I have zaid and now Aegiz haz repeated, we zhould not dezide until we are already leaving. A leak in information would doom uz.
Zunden says, looking out in the direction of the town, "Az for ze mizzion, a zplit could work. I will be remaining aboard ze zhip for eaze of getaway, of courze.
"Oh, yeah, I guess I should actually tell you guys what I learned about them. So the armor is, like, grafted onto them. They're basically mummies and run on some kind of clockwork or something. They wind themselves up, but if you can manage to actually get to the key you can unwind it. Also they have these really loud horns, kind of like alarms or something."
"That's… unsettling. I'd hoped they were just animated armor, not some sort of mummy."
''Is it decided then?'' Aegis looks at everyone after Zunden's speech>>729225
''Then that makes it so that sneaking through them and deactivating them even more important. If you and Silver will be tasked with unwinding them, then you need to ensure you do it swiftly before they can raise the alarm''
I shake my head. "I actually probably woulda made it into the parlement building if I didn't pull its key out. That's one of the things that triggers the alarm, but they can do it on their own too."
"Did you happen to notice where the keys are on them? We may be able to dispatch them easier if so."
"It was just on his chest. Somewhere around-" I tap the area opposite my heart. "Around here."
"Hmm.. It would be a risk, rushing into whatever they deploy head-on, but a strike there may be enough to finish the fight instantly."
"The alarm they raise is an issue, though i suppose if the goal was to cause a distraction that would certainly do it."
"Not find," Violet points out. "Carry. We know where the supplies are. But one group carrying a ton of boxes and what have you could stick out like a sore thumb. If we do it in two groups, one taken the less beaten path, it'll be easier to smuggle them out without the Keepers getting on our cases. Don't you think?">>729221
Marisol agrees. "A distraction could work. Maybe if we have some form of causing a loud noise or explosion without actually being there, we could even draw out the Keepers on both levels…"
"Perhaps we shouldn't wait too long," Dawn points out. "This Lilura person will be waiting for a reply from us, and food is starting to run low on the ship.">>729222
"Cremated?" Violet looks disturbed. "Is the death toll that high that they need special units just to burn the bodies periodically?" She shudders.>>729224
"We should at least find some proper options for the Egg's hiding place," Marisol points out. "Via a map or someone who's better traveled than us."
Violet speaks up. "I know a few places we could take it. But Zunden's right. Better to leave that for later."
You continue to pilot the ship, flying all the way around the exterior wall of Last Hearth and towards the towering, craggy mountain behind it. The terrain is mostly grassy, with thick, dense trees covering its many peaks. It is big enough that it would take a few days to fly over just the one mountain, essentially being its own region. You manage to find a spot to land overlooking Last Hearth. The aqueduct that stands over the nameless river flowing into the town is visible from here.>>729225
Marisol's lip curls in disgust. "More experiments. At least they don't use living subjects. Though I doubt the wretches get a swift death."
"In that case," Violet muses, "we'll have to be extra careful when tackling them. We take them down quickly and quietly or we'll have hell to pay."
"Yeah. Some of them carry poison dart guns, too, so that's something to watch out for."
"Yeah, I suppose it's decided." he says, offering a short nod. He looks to Violet, and shrugs a little. "No clue. But… it was pretty bad down there."
"Yeah, that's my thinking. This can either go by really smooth or go to hell. There isn't much of an inbetween."
"Well, I volunteer for carrying things," Hermodur offers.
"I'm not really good for much else here anyway."
"Hmm.. perhaps once Dawn has rested, we could simply maneuver the ship over the city and open a door as it passes overhead? So long as we're fast and Dawn can hold the spell, we could jump aboard through the door without even stopping long enough for a keeper reaction."
"You think they have any anti-air weapons? Seems like it'd be something you'd plan for when airships are pretty common."
"As far as we've seen, the only aerial threat would be those watchers floating about, and they hardly seem a threat for an airship."
"Yes, perhaps it's for the best to wait until dawn is ready, split the supplies and make our way through the middle route."
"I would zay zhe zhould have more zhan a day to heal, at leazt. What of juzt lining ze zhip up wizh ze zide of ze aqueduct, and climbing aboard from zhere?
save us having to traverse the length of it to reach you.. Provided the watchers aren't armed with something to bring down our ship."
"I suppose we could spend the time letting Dawn rest to check for just such a situation."
You continue to discuss your plans well into the night, going over the minutiae of your plan, taking notes of what will happen where, and making sure everything will be in its right place. At one point, Etrigan takes a break to make tea for those who want it, while later in the evening, Purdue wakes up and politely asks to be retired to his own quarters. The hours roll by, and by the time you're starting to finalize something, you're starting to feel bleary eyed and light headed.
Dawn takes another sip of tea as Marisol stifles a yawn. "Alright," says Violet, rubbing her eyes, "let's go over this one more time so we're all on the same page, then call it a night:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwT8HmWudU
"So tomorrow night, before the 9pm curfew, Norv, Silver, Hermodur, Dawn, Aegis, Purdue, Rabi and I go with the floating carpet to this Lilura girl's house, trying to avoid raising suspicion. Meanwhile, Marisol, Etrigan and Zunden take the ship and head up into the mountains where they won't spot it." Marisol nods in silent approval.
"While the curfew is happening, we load up the goods on the carpet as discreetly as we can, waiting for their usual patrols to blow over. Then, we sneak out, head down to the lower levels of the city, and traverse the canals, hopefully without raising an alarm. Once we get to the lowest level of the aqueduct, we signal Zunden via Harbinger to blow a hole in the wall - without damaging the goods, that is - then hop through, board the ship through the breach and hightail it before the Keepers come down on us like an avalanche. If things go south, Dawn will try to open a door to get us out of there quicker."
"Sound good? Or did I miss something?"
"I… think that's it, yeah. It's a shame we won't really be able to come back here, though."
''Would you really want to come back here either way? There is hardly anything of interest in this place''
"Well, it's certainly not the most elegant of solutions but it is
the most efficient."
"I would assume we will make our way to Lilura separately? The watchers become quite active following a group of three, i'd imagine seven of us together would bring the whole city to alert."
I sigh and slouch in my chair. Guess we're getting out of here too soon for me to do anything about the slaves. What did I even expect? To topple an entire damn city? I shake my head. "Guess not. Just point and I'll do what I can. I do want to stop in early and try to see if I can't get my stuff back from R&G. Hope they got a chance to air out some."
"Zhere are zhoze of uz who did not identify ourzelvez, it iz only a matter of zending zhoze zhey have not identified az pazzengerz of ze zhip into town zhould we return.
" She pauses, "Bezidez… by ze zound of it, ze town doez not zound like ze mozt pleazant of plazez to return to.
''That is true. We will have to travel at most in pairs if we're to avoid catching their attention''
Hermodur nods. "Understood."
He looks to the sullen-looking Norv, and puts a hand on his shoulder. "I think I understand how you feel. And, I just want to say I support you."
My ears fold back and my eyes fall to the ground. "Thanks," I say. "Just wish I coulda done more, y'know? In two weeks- in two weeks they'll all be dead. Or worse."
"It's as I said before. Failures are a result of our own weakness. We may not be able to accomplish what we want right now. But, we can still strive to do better in the future."
"I thought I was doing better. You haven't really been around to see it but I- I'd like to think I've gotten a lot stronger."
Violet and Marisol both seem to share your disappointment in not being able to help. "…They're… they're going to murder hundreds," Marisol says with a stony expression. "Captive slaves from all over the Echoes, hunted for sport by a cabal of masked degenerates, their corpses used for their horrific experiments… It's unconscionable.
Violet nods sadly. "If we can help them, we should. It doesn't sit right with me letting this happen. When you… when you have the resources we do… and you see bad things happening, and you just watch… they happen because of you."
Dawn seems to agree, but looks resolute. "We have a job to do. What's going to happen here is horrific. But millions more will die if we fail in our mission…">>729654
"We should try and avoid being detected wherever possible," Dawn agrees. "If they are suspicious of us before then, they'll almost certainly have a bead on us when we leave." "The last thing we need is an Observer tailing us the whole way," Marisol agrees. "That applies to the ship too.">>729652>>729654>>729653>>729655>>729656
"Guess it's decided then," Violet nods. "We'll go in small groups to avoid the Observers to get to Lilura's, then carry out the plan from there. I think it'll go smoothly, as long as we time the escape just right."
"Now, let's get some rest. Big day tomorrow."
Much of the following day is spent making preparations. Dawn and Violet take time to explore the town a bit during the day so they can get their bearings. Norv returns to retrieve his freshly cleaned gear, paying off his debt in the process.
Night falls. The plan begins.>>729658>>729657>>729655>>729654>>729652
Violet and Dawn accompany you both into the city as the sun begins to set. As you approach, you split up into two groups: Norv, Purdue, Violet, Aegis and Hermodur are in one, while Dawn, Rabi and Silver are in the other. >roll Navigation >>729656
You are on the upper deck, and watch as the group depart. Etrigan and Marisol flank you, looking concerned about what's to come. "Do you think this will work?" Marisol asks softly.
"Considering how you were when I first met you, I don't doubt it," Hermodur chuckles.
"But, strength comes from more than just muscles. And, in this case, our greatest weakness and failure comes from the fact that we currently have another goal."
"Yeah, I know how you feel. There's so much nasty stuff out here, and knowing we can't really do anything about it… it's rough.">>729662
"Right. Smaller groups make sense- let's hope we all make it there well enough."
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 6 = 6
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 8 = 8
Heading through the gates, i try to retrace my steps through the streets to the alley Lilura used earlier yesterday.
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 7 = 7
''Dawn speaks the truth'' Aegis comfirms with no guilt in her voice ''If we dont focus on the Egg, all we know will cease to exist. Once we finish our task, you can return and anhihilate the elite of this place and free the people''
'1d10' navigationRoll #1 5 = 5
"Zhat iz a good queztion.
" Zunden sits cross-legged, pulling out her tarot deck and drawing from it.
>Once a Day to get an idea of how this night might end up.
I nod. "Yeah… I guess. It just seems like there could be more we could do, y'know?" I stand up and shake my head. "I don't know. I have to go do some things. If anyone needs me I'll be in my room."
Over the night I take a little time to do a little fiddling around. First, I remove the clockwork and wood bits and empty them into my bag. Then I take enough gunpowder to fill the sphere and mix it with oil to turn it from a powder into a paste. I pull a wick from one of the candles, strip some of the wax, coat it in a little of the paste to make a fuse, and, if I have to, drill a tiny hole in the top of the sphere to slide it in. If I can't bring my sprayer or my rats and my dart gun is useless I want at least some
backup. I just hope I don't kill myself in the process.
In the morning I ask Aegis for the robe she got from those traders before going in to meet with R&G.>>729662
I'm quiet the whole way to the dog's place.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
''Why have you brought him along?'' Aegis asks, pointing a hoof at Purdue
I glare at her. "Why did you come along?
''I'm leading you to Lilura's house'' She aswers plainly
"Alright. Yeah. Dumb question. He's here because he wanted to come and didn't want to be trapped in a single room all day every day."
''I see. Then please keep him quiet''
"You're the one talking."
"The world is a hungry place," Dawn agrees, looking somber. "It breaks my heart that we can't save these ones from being swallowed by it. It really does. But you know what's at stake.">>729669
"Norv…" You can feel Violet watching you leave with great concern.
You fiddle with the clockwork orange and start tinkering, eventually making some sort of makeshift explosive. It looks a little unstable, but it should be enough to cause some mayhem if need be.>>729670>>729674"I can watch your back, lass,"
he points out. "Quite literally! If you'd rather not have me around, I'm happy to stay behind. Not like I can do much to stop you. And don't worry, I'll stay quiet if I have to. I'm not half the horse I used to be, you know. At least from what Norv's told me.">>729671>>729672
Violet looks very uncomfortable as you start to bicker. "Can… can we just focus on the job?…">>729664>>729665>>729666>>729667>>729669
You enter Last Hearth one group at a time. You immediately notice Rosen and Gilder are gone, having presumably departed earlier. Even traveling in smaller groups, it is unavoidable to be spotted by one of the many Observers flying through the city streets.
Eventually, you reach her house, reconvening outside the gate. It's a run down looking place, with a few boarded up windows, a dead garden, a crumbling roof, and many rotting boards lining the walls. Overall, if you didn't know someone lived here, you'd assume it was abandoned.
You notice the front door is slightly ajar. There's no sign of Lilura, wherever she may be.>>729668
Marisol and Etrigan watch curiously as you read the cards. Things don't bode well - unexpected developments, a great trial, exertions pushed to their limits, and… separation. Something being lost. Severance.
''We can talk openly, for now''
I shoot Violet an apogetic frown. "Yeah. Sorry," I say. "Just- I'm just really on edge. A lot on my mind, y'know?"
I pat Purdue on the head. "You're fine, buddy," I say. "Having you watching my back is a big help on its own."
I look around. "You guys sure this is the right place?"
"I suppose the most we could do is try to help others down the line… to make up for it or something, yeah?" the stallion says, with a short shrug.>>729676
Rabi frowns a little when he spots the run-down house with an open door, and tries to look around for any sign of Lilura. Did she get… held up a little, I guess?"
Aegis nods ''I am aware of your change, I just want to ensure our success. There is a lot at stake in this operation''
''I am focused'' she affirms
Once at Lilura's house, Aegis looks around for a moment before letting herself in, heading to the supplies>>729678>>729679
''I'm sure she will show herself eventually. Let's begin packing the supplies while we wait for her''
Approaching the house and noticing the open door, i approach with a degree of caution.
"Lilura? Are you home?">>729678
"This was where Lilura met us earlier.. Perhaps she left for the market?"
"Indeed, it shouldn't matter if she's here. We're just taking supplies anyway."
Hermodur goes in through the ajar door.
"Right. Saves time if we get started now." the stallion says, starting to carefully pack supplies away.
"Yeah, I guess that's a good idea." I move to find the supplies and start packing them.
Zunden scowls as the card is revealed, a major arcana in it's reverse position. The card depicts a circular rune in the sky, a blue-scaled dragon sitting on the top and a robed, red tegu saurian upside down on the bottom.
"Ze Wheel of Fortune in it'z reverze pozition. No matter the courze of action we take, zhere will be a complication.. zome zort of unexzpected twizt. We have little control on what might occur, zo we have to inztead prepare for ze worzt. We are in plaze to loze zomezhing, wezher zomezhing phyzical like ze zuppliez, or a conzept like a lozz of control.
She sighs, looking out to those leaving for the city, "It'z not we could avoid, zo we will have to weazher ze ztorm az zhey zay.
>>729678"I'm just grateful to be able to see the world,"
he answers cheerily. "It does get dull being cooped up all the time.">>729678>>729679>>729680>>729681>>729682
You find the gear in the backyard, inside a rundown shed. It's not understating it to say you'll be sitting pretty for a long, long time with these; there's at least eight wooden crates jam packed with all sorts of supplies. Dried food, fresh water, all sorts of outdoors tools and utensils, dry clothes in a variety of sizes, and much, much more lie inside the shed, waiting for you. With the size of your current crew, you estimate it'll be enough for at least another month. "Oh wow," Violet breathes as she examines the gear. "Someone's been stockpiling, huh." "This is quite the hoard," Dawn comments, tapping the crates with her walking stick to feel it out. "I dare say we'll be sitting pretty for weeks to come. What good luck we have."
"Well, finding it's just the first test, isn't it," Violet comments as she tests to see how heavy they are. Unfortunately, they seem far too heavy for any one of you to carry. Even Hermodur would struggle to move this cargo.
You hear movement coming from behind you. Turning around, you see Lilura holding a kitchen knife apprehensively, relaxing as she sees Silver and Aegis. She is a young Diamond Dog with short golden fur, thin as a rake, with dark, sunken eyes. She wears black clothes, completely covered from neck to toe. She breathes a sigh of relief and grins. "I thought you'd skipped town or something. Good to see you again." She looks from Silver and Aegis to the rest of the group, looking intimidated by your looks, and the sheer number of miscellaneous assembled people. "Er… I didn't know you'd be bringing so many friends." She takes a step forward eagerly, looking behind her at the street to make sure no one's snooping. "I'm Lilura. My friends called me Lily. Excuse me if I don't shake hands, or help much with all this… process…" She looks a bit worried. "Do you have a way out of here?"
Etrigan looks concerned, while Marisol looks more intrigued at your divination. "Something we didn't account for. Or that we couldn't have known about, perhaps. I just hope they pull through."
She looks up at the mountain that looms over Last Hearth. "Hmm. Maybe it'd be best to do some aerial reconnaissance?" she suggests. "So we can plan the attack on the aqueduct better. Maybe have the ship waiting close by."
''We needed to bring all the help we could to haul the stuff back to the ship, and we have a plan for doing so, yes''
"We're pretty sure we do, at least. Man, there's way more here than I thought there would be. Hope we can actually get it all out." In spite of my apprehension, I smile and introduce myself. "Norv. Is fine for now." I knit my brow and look down at the knife. "Everything alright?"
"Miss Lilura, excellent timing! We've just begun the packing process, I feared the worst when we arrived to an empty house."
"We've scouted the area and have opted to make our escape through the aqueducts. Our ship should be en route now."
Turning to the others, i try to help load what we can between the carpet and our bag of holding, careful not to damage the cargo as i work.
[1d10] AssistRoll #1 2 = 2
Noticing just how heavy everything is, I pull out my flask and take a sip of the whale ale.
[1d10]Move barrelsRoll #1 4 = 4
"Where were we carrying this again?" Hermodur asks, eyeing the boxes. "I think we may need to change the plan."
"Wizh ze zhip? I fear zhat'd arrouze zuzpicion of why we're zircling ze zity in ze firzt plaze. It iz a long zhot, but are eziher of you familiar wizh any ziegecraft or cannoneering? While I would azzume zhat ztructurez zuch az an aquaduct to wizhztand a few hitz from a cannon, It ztill needz to provide an exit point for ze ozherz…"
She rubs her chin, thinking.
"True, this is quite a lot more than expected.. We'll load what we can onto the carpet, then pair down what we need and move on with the plan."
"We've got a way out, yeah- it might be a little… rough, but we planned it out as much as we could beforehand. I'm Rabi, by the way- it's good to meet you, Lilura."
She puts the knife away. "Yeah. Just thought you might've been someone else. Don't often get people wandering into my backyard." She smiles.>>729695
"Good to meet you too!" She looks excited to be in the company of proper adventurers.>>729688>>729689>>729690>>729692>>729695
Lily's eyes widen a little. "So you're not just taking the goods? I can come with you?" she asks excitedly.
Violet nods. "Sure, can't hurt to have another pair of hands around. I'm Violet, by the way."
"Oh Gods…" She looks overwhelmed, beaming from ear to ear. "Thank you. Thank you so so much. This is… this is everything.
Wow. I didn't expect a ticket out of here just like that. I mean, I spoke to you two about it before, but I wasn't banking on it happening. I've always wanted to leave, but I never could because of my condition, and my brother. I…"
She catches herself rambling. "Er, sorry. Just a lot to take in. You should know, though, if you don't already. I have a… a condition, I guess you could call it. I break easily. Something passed on, I suppose. I'll try and stay out of harm's way, but I'd hate to be a burden if it comes to it." She looks a bit self conscious, and simply watches as you struggle with the supplies.>>729690
Violet tries to give you a hand, but you don't manage more than two or three steps before being forced to put it down. "Ugh. Wow. What's in this one?" she wonders out loud. "Bricks?"
"Those are the food supplies," Lily calls. "Please, be careful…">>729691
Violet watches with amusement as you grab one of the crates like it's nothing, hoisting it over your head and easily plonking it on top of the carpet. It starts to sag a little from the weight. You get the feeling it'll move at a snail's pace with all that cargo on it.
Lily's eyes nearly pop out of her head as you lift the crate. "Wh… How did you do that?" she exclaims. "That's amazing! It's magic, right? It has to be. No one can be that strong, can they?…"
Etrigan nods. I was Captain Carabas' batman during the War. If he were here, he would have known how to commandeer a proper assault. But I learned a lot in that time. If we could get closer to that side of the aqueduct so I can get a better look, I could come up with a strategy…
Marisol shakes her head. "I was just Grosvenor's bodyguard. Nothing more. The art of war is beyond me, unfortunately. I could try, but it'd only be guesswork. As good as yours."
"I don't know," I say, lifting my arm and giving it a flex. "I think these cannons speak for themselves." I chuckle. "And, uh, they definitely say it's magic. Or more likely alchemy, I think."
''Diamond dogs are usually blessed with powerful muscles. Its good to know we can rely on Master Norvegicus for this task then'' Aegis turned around to Lilura
''Now, while everything is being loaded up, I feel like you should know what our plan will be, and feel free to add any information you feel relevant''
With that, Aegis started to get Lilura caught up with the whole process the party discussed at the ship earlier
"You should know that this is probably the safest, most stable place in the world," Hermodur cautions Lily. "If you still wish to leave, that's your choice. I just wish for you to make it well-informed."
"Anyway, where are we loading all of this?"
setting the box down, i take a moment to catch my breath.
"Goodness, i simply must work on my strength! lifting things isn't quite in my wheelhouse, i'm afraid."
recovering, i try to load the box onto the carpet once more.
[1d10] assistRoll #1 8 = 8
"We'd never turn down a chance to help someone out of we can- things're going to be a little weird for a bit, but we'd be happy to have you along. As far as this, uh… condition does, don't worry about it too much." he says, while loading up.
[1d10] Here we go!Roll #1 2 = 2
"We've brought the carpet with us." i reply, pointing a wing at the floating rug nearby. "It can pull quite the load, though even that has it's limit. We might need to shorten what we take to the basics unfortunately."
Zunden nods to Etrigan, looking to Marisol, "Etrigan haz zome knowledge. I zuppoze it would be bezt to get a view razher zhan fire blindly and on ze fly. We can zircle around ze town onze to get a good view.
I blush a little, but instead of saying anything I just get back to loading the carpet. "Let me know when I should stop."
Hermodur nods and starts loading cargo onto the carpet, starting with food.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Violet scoffs and grins as you show your muscles. "You wish."
Lily seems fascinated by it. "I never thought that was possible. I wish I could do that…">>729699
She nods and takes it in. "That… might be tricky. I try to stay away from there, in case I slip. But I've heard there's barely anyone down there because the Parliament use it for… something. Some sort of factory under the city, if you believe the rumors. I don't know what it builds, or why. Surely not Keepers, they're made at Morrilcole. I get a feeling I don't want to know.">>729700
Lily looks skeptical, but doesn't seem to dare argue, looking intimidated by your presence.>>729701
Between you, Violet and a bit of a telekinetic boost from Dawn, you load up the second of eight boxes. Violet wipes her brow and gets back to work, and between both of you you haul a third up as well.>>729702
A pain shoots up your leg, your old wound from the Sands acting up again, impeding you for a moment. You barely manage to lift the crate, needing help from Violet and Dawn to push it up onto the carpet. It's starting to sag quite a bit.>>729706
You load two more boxes with help from the others. Your prosthetic hand gives you an incredibly firm grip, and there's no risk of damage to it.>>729705
You load up the last two crates. The carpet is so low from the weight that it almost scrapes the ground.>>729699>>729702>>729703>>729705>>729706
As the last of the cargo is loaded, you spot an Observer flying past on the street, with one of the gramophones attached in lieu of an eye. It is followed by a retinue of seven Keepers."Attention. Attention, citizens. The hour is 9pm. All is well. A curfew is now in effect. Please return to your homes in an orderly fashion. Violators will be prosecuted."
As the group move onward, one of the seven splits away, stationing himself on the corner and watching over the street. Lily grits her teeth. "Shit, they're doing this again?" she says with a low voice. "This isn't normal for them. Something has them antsy. You guys haven't stirred up any trouble, have you?"
"Any case. I'm not sure how we're meant to get past without alerting him. When they clamp down on security like this, there's no calling 'em away. He's gonna stay there the whole night without moving." She looks to you with a furrowed brow. "Now what?"
"Right," she nods. "Let's hope we can find something…"
You fly due south to the other end of town, giving the perimeter a wide berth as you fly around to the northern side where the aqueduct is, observing the outer wall while staying out of their line of sight.
You bring the ship to a halt about 500 meters away from the aqueduct. It towers over you ominously, and you can see the tiny silhouettes of Keepers on its upper walls. Marisol observes it through a telescope, which Etrigan borrows on request. Let's see what we can find…
[1d10+2] PerceptionRoll #1 9 + 2 = 11
Etrigan nods, looking satisfied. There. Look.
He passes you the telescope, pointing out a tiny, almost imperceptible spot at the base of the aqueduct. Just across from a moat, you can see a small iron grate. A weakness. We blow that, it should open up access through their canals. It'd be up to them to find the breach. It wouldn't be easy for us though. An explosion like that will alert them in a heartbeat. Perhaps if we had some sort of distraction to delay their response…
''I assumed it was the Keepers, I am not pleased to know I was wrong. If you think of anything else important please let us know''
''It was probably not something we did. We scouried the route we'd take in spirit form, and came here in groups to avoid suspicion''
Aegis looks to the others ''I have an idea. I could get its attention pretending I'm heading back to the ship and ask it to scout me to the gates. They are here to serve and protect as they say, right? If I comply and appear non-threatening I'm sure it will work, but you will have to carry on without me''
I run my hand across the top of my head, smoothing back my fur. This is probably my fault. "Shoot. This might throw off the plan a little. What are we gonna do?"
"If we break one, are the others notified?" Hermodur asks, eyeing the keeper.
"You can unwind one without anything happening, but if it has to chase you or if you break the key then it sets off an alarm."
"Why would it have to chase you?"
"Well, that's just my experience because I was running away."
Rabi lets out a pained grunt and wobbles in place, having to set the barrel back down. He offers a bit of a pained smile to Lilura, before saying "See? We've all got some, ah… conditions. You'll fit in fine."
"Quite the risky maneuver, Norvy. If the key is on their torso, one would risk quite the beating if they failed to unwind it.">>729711
"The question is, would they be willing to escort you, or would you simply be 'prosecuted' for being out by now?"
"If you were
to distract them, doing so right now, so soon after the announcement, would be the best bet."
"So, in theory, someone could sneak up behind one and unwind it? It just requires someone with stealth and mechanical skills. Sounds like this job was made for you, Norv."
''Indeed, I can just say that I am an outsider and was not familiar with the curfew and lost track of the time''>>729719>>729714
''That is also an option. Riskier, but possible''
"Yeah, I wasn't thinking about that when i did it. Actually I didn't even know it'd work.">>729719>>729720
I swallow. "Yeah, I guess it does. Give things a little bit to settle down and I'll see what I can do."
''We dont have much time to think, Master Norvegicus. If we are to take action it has to be now''
"Aegis serving as a distraction may work. Have you seen them willing to move from their post if escorting somepony?"
"I would argue that the option which doesn't involve one of us revealing ourselves to the Keeper is the less risky option."
''If Norvegicus fails, It will call the other guards here and potentially ruin the plan. If I fail, I'm certain only I will be punished, and it will still distract the Keeper for the others''
"I just don't want to go out there and get blindsided by another patrolling keeper. But yeah. You're right.">>729724
"Alright, just-" I take a deep breath and adjust the cloak. "I'll be right back." I pull out my gas mask and slip it over my face.
I slip into the shadow of the doorway and watch the keeper. Waiting for him to maybe look away, or searching for some kind of blind spot, I slip out into the darkness in hopes of finding some route around him.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 4 + 2 = 6
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
"We have ze zhip, cannonz, runez at our dizpozal. Ze only zhing limiting uz iz creativity.
" Zunden rubs her chin again. "We do have zome time, perhapz I zhould experiment wizh zome of ze runez and zee if I can devize zome zort of plan to uze zhem az a diztraction. Crumble one of zheir wall by turning ze ztonez back to zheir original form or ze like.
She begins to the rune she saw above the gate of the town on a piece of parchment, trying to parse how ti works. "Zhiz rune for example, Creazion, iz zomezhing I've yet to underztand ze limitationz. Can I create zomezhing from nozhing, I wonder..
She first places some scrap cloth down on the ground, finishing the rune and imagining the creation of a hat made from the fabric.
[1d10+1] CREATIONRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
"Good luck," Violet whispers as you prepare to head out. You feel all eyes on you as you head out.
You creep around from the other side of the house, watching the Keeper's patrol pattern. It seems to scan areas in a repetitive, mechanical fashion, first looking left, then straight ahead, then right, then straight again, then back to the left. By timing it right, you are able to sprint through the shadows and across the street, ending up directly behind the Keeper. Your movements are muffled by the cloak, making it almost impossible for the Keeper to detect you.
Not waisting a moment, I dart out, hook an arm around the Keeper, and try to sweep its legs out from beneath it. As it goes down, I try to unwind it.
[Cheap Shot: Automatic]
[1d10]Unwind if neededRoll #1 2 = 2
>>729728That could work. Something subtle would do the trick. The quieter, the better.
They both watch with curiosity as you try to fashion the cloth into a hat by way of Creation. It works. Kind of. You just make an ugly lump of cloth that could pass for a poorly fashioned hat. Ganzen, who's come up to the top deck out of curiosity, tries to nibble on it tentatively. "This is a powerful one," Marisol comments. "Lady Grosvenor made use of it quite often. Very dangerous, in the wrong hands. But I trust you not to misuse its power." She smiles a little.
You bring it down and struggle to unwind it. It thrashes and flails unnaturally, hitting you in the face and knocking you away. As it thrashes to get back up, you hear that familiar, awful, shrill sound as it calls for aid. You hear many thundering hooves in the distance.
The Keeper tries to get back up!
From your hiding spots, you hear a sudden loud, piercing sound that goes on for a good 10 seconds or so, like a policeman's whistle, but much, much louder. Your companions flinch and cover their ears. "Shit, that's no good," Lily says once it's over, speaking louder than usual. Seems she was deafened slightly by it. "Your friend's kicked the hornet nest!" Dawn starts to fret and panic, while Violet doesn't think twice about pulling out her twinblade, heading off to go help her lover with determination. "Guess we're improvising!…"Roll #1 3 = 3
Zunden begins to invoke the rune as she listens to the others, intending again to create a similar cloth hat through the rune, but without focusing on the materials she has procured, instead trying to create the object out of pure will alone.
Zunden nods to them both, "I've been zlowly learning ze power of runez. If ozherz uze zhem to deztroy and zeperate, zhen I want to learn to create and bring togezher.
She looks to Etrigan, "Perhapz zomezhing zhat could appear like intruderz on a different level, create zome zort of zimulacrum or at leazt make zome movement to get zheir attention.
"Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
Flattening my ears from the whistle, i draw my shivs and take cover, masking my approach as i make my way to assist.
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 5 = 5
"Well, it's not too late to topple an entire city," Hermodur comments as he draws Mjolnir. It's unclear whether he's joking.
He follows close behind Violet as he charges Mjolnir.
I go to rub my nose only to have my hand come into contact with my mask. Wiggling my snout, I lunge at the Keeper again. "Stay inside!" I yell to the others. "I'll take care of this!"
[1d10]Improvise UnwindRoll #1 4 = 4
[1d10]PersuasionRoll #1 9 = 9
Aegis goes to rush in, stopping near the doorway at Norv's command, preemptively casting a spell in case a fight breaks out
'1d10' homing magicRoll #1 7 = 7
"Gah, dang. I guess there's no reason to go quiet anymore." the stallion says, working himself to his hooves and starting to draw his bow.>>729736
"What? Are you sure? I could try shooting off the crank?"
You create a replica of a plain bucket hat; only, it's not made of cloth, but of thin air. It's solid as the real thing, and you can wear it easily, but it's completely invisible. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never find it. Marisol looks curious. "So that's what happens when you don't use a physical component," she muses. "Interesting."Like a homunculus?
he asks. Made of whatever we can salvage? It could work. Risky, but possible…
"Stick to the plan!" I watch over my shoulders to make sure the other keepers see me.
Hearing Norv's insistance, Aegis runs in to get a hold of Violet and pull her back in, closing the door behind her
Hearing Novy's insistence to remain hidden, i pause and retreat back to the others, shooting him a concerned look but relenting.
Hearing Norv, Hermodur backs off and puts Mjolnir away. He goes back to where the others are.
"Now ze queztion I've had… can I create zhingz from magic? Juzt az I can zummon orbz zhat hold zpellz wizhin, can I zhape magic uzing runecraft? Or more, could I hold ze effectz of a rune wizhin one of my orbz?
She experiments with the thought, taking out her orb of healing and trying to shape it into the shape of a featureless figure - only in shape, not movement or life.
"But doez it really require life? Zhat zeemz like a unnezezzary rizk indeed.
" Zunden looks to Etrigan, momentarily forgetting the Marisol not having a connection as well. "If ze figure can move in a ztraight line, zhat iz all that would really be needed, no?
"Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4
You stick to the shadows and creep out, taking in the scene. Five more Keepers are rapidly running towards Norv, followed by an Observer. Its eye is strobing rapidly, documenting everything.>>729735
You strike your trusty hammer, and it springs to life in your hands. Lily seems excited to see what happens next.>>729736
You manage to unwind the Keeper. He falls to the ground, twitching and spasming, before lying still. Five more Keepers arrive, but as you call out, they seem to be alerted by your words. One of them breaks away, followed by an Observer, starting to sweep the street while the others apprehend you.
Two of the Keepers move to grab you. "Anticitizen. You are hereby charged with malcompliance, destruction of Parliament property, trespassing, and curfew violation. Resistance will place further charges upon you. Do not resist."
You conjure three icy orbs above your head. Lily looks impressed, but focuses on the situation at hand for now.>>729742
She protests, but keeps quiet. She looks extremely anxious to run out there and help him.>>729744>>729743>>729742>>729739
You see one of the Keepers and an Observer break away, alerted by Norv's cry to you. It starts patrolling up the street, the Observer's eye switching to a blinding floodlight, scanning for anyone outside. Lily, Dawn and Violet duck away, hiding behind the house. "Maybe I should open a Door to him," Dawn suggests in a low voice. "I'm still convalescing, but I could try. It's not too far to be too str-" She is cut off as Lily shushes her before covering her own mouth, not daring to make a sound as the Keeper starts moving past. In the background, you can hear Norv struggling as he is apprehended. Violet looks like she's about to cry, but bites her lip and stays quiet.Roll #1 7, 9 = 16
I try to avoid them and sprint away in the opposite direction the others are planning on going.
[1d10]Guess I should rollRoll #1 6 = 6
Aegis holds her down firmly against the floor, dismissing her orbs
''He will be fine'' She mutters in Violet's ear
Ducking into the house, i keep low and stay quiet as the observer passes by.
"Ah… is he going to be alright?" Rabi asks, keeping his voice lowered. "I mean, I'm not really sure I like the idea of them dragging him off…"
Reaching out with magic, you invoke Creation again, remolding the magic of your orb into a vaguely bipedal shape; two arms, two legs, and a head. The end result looks more like a five pointed star than a being.
"Not life. Something tangible. Material," Marisol explains. "You can't create something out of nothing. To get, you have to give. And if you don't give, something else will in your stead. At least that's what I read in one of her books."
Etrigan thinks. The Servitors can leave the ship, at least for
a distance, can't they? You could send one out, perhaps. Or make something to simulate life, as you are now. Alternatively, I could try drawing their attention before you breach the wall. I don't think I can die anymore. There's nothing they could do to hurt me.
You don't manage to escape before they restrain you, grabbing one arm each. A third trots up and raises his hoof, producing a needle. It calmly stabs you in the chest with it, and you feel… something… being injected into your bloodstream. The awful numbing feeling of paralysis starts washing over you, slowly spreading through your body.>>729749
She squirms as they detain him, panicking more and more. Eventually, as the struggling stops, she hangs her head and pounds the ground with her hoof, silently sobbing with worry.>>729750
He passes by, suspecting nothing. It looks more and more like they're going to take Norv.>>729751
Lily looks at you with a haunting expression, shaking her head. "No. No, he won't."
''It is Master Norvegicus. I know He will find a way out of this'' Aegis slowly begins to release violet
I furiously thrash against the keepers the moment I see the needle, clawing and snapping my jaws at them to try to get them to release me. I know what a single dart coated in that stuff can do, and this- this is concentrated and going right into my veins.
I scream as the needle drives into my chest and redouble my escape effort. If I can get away -if I can run and hide long enough for this stuff to wear off- then I should still be able to lead them away from my friends without getting hurt.
[1d10] Thrashing, Gnashing, and Bashing.Roll #1 8 = 8
Gonna proc GLC if it's actually needed.
Rabi hisses a little bit, but decides to hold on just a moment longer- maybe Norvegicus does have it. He'll keep his bow out, ready to draw a bolt if things go bad… or, go worse than they are right now.
"And, if not, we can save him later."
Biting my tongue, i watch the scene with frustration as he struggles to escape, heeding his wish to keep hidden.Focus.. Norvy has been in his share of scrapes, he'll be fine..right?
Violet springs to her feet as you release her, glaring at you with fire in her eyes. "You'd better be right," she growls, planting her twinblade into the ground. "If we don't find him by the end of this, don't wait for me.">>730052>GLC used
You manage to throw them off of you before they can give you the full dose of paralysis, struggling away and lurching down an alley. Even as you do so, you can feel your limbs starting to shut down, feeling sluggish and leaden. You stumble and almost fall, your body beginning to lose all sensation. Another piercing whistle blast rings out as the Keepers begin chasing after you. With the poison starting to take its toll, there's little chance of running away, but you could perhaps find somewhere to hide.>>730055>>730056>>730054>>729755
Silver sees Norv escape, stumbling away awkwardly and drawing their attention. The rest of you hear this. It seems like he's drawn them away, giving you a clear shot to get moving. "If they capture him," Lily whispers quietly, "he'll be taken to Morrilcole. Processed and turned into one of those things. Like… like Aylward." Violet groans in dismay and starts looking for alternative routes. Dawn shakes her head and starts concentrating, trying to open a portal for Norv. "Not on my watch," she says to herself.
My mouth feels dry, and every step my body threatens to collapse. I frantically look around for somewhere -anywhere- to hide. I've hidden from them before. I can do it again, at least until I can move again.
[1d10+2] StealthRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
"Well, let's use the opportunity he gave us," Hermodur urges everyone onward.
[1d10] to push the baggage if necessaryRoll #1 10 = 10
With the coast clear, i quickly trot over to the carpet and assist Hermodur as we push the goods towards the rendezvous.
"Can you save him without straining yourself?" i ask dawn with concern "We can't risk our only means of escape on a gamble."
"I… let's hope, yeah." the stallion says, trying to steady himself and push the baggage.
[1d10] ShoveRoll #1 2 = 2
Aegis stares at her with her own cool glaze, but did not argue with Violet, instead turning to Lilura
''I thought they only did that to ponies'' she said as she stayed near Hermo and Rabi with the carpet, but not really helping push it
"Zee now, I can zhape raw magic into it'z own form, can I give runez zhape?
" She moves her claws up from the quill and instead draws the Creation rune in the air, beckoning forth as if she was trapping her light magic in one of her orbs.
>Creation (Frozen Light)
"If Norvegicuz waz to be believed, Etrigan, your body would be rigged wizh mazhinery and made to fight againzt your alliez while you were ztill conciouz of it, zhould you be captured.
"Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9
"They only look like ponies," she answers, her voice trembling. >>730060
"He's not too far. I should be able to grab him," Dawn replies. "…Should.">>730059>>730060>>730061>>730062
You hear the fading footsteps of the Keepers as you head out onto the now deserted streets, sticking to the shadows. You can see an Observer floating in the distance, but not close enough to be able to see you from here. Dawn opens a Silver Door to a nearby location, screwing up her face and concentrating hard. You can see that the spell takes its toll on her; she is trembling slightly as she opens the Door, tears running down her face, as if she were having an allergic reaction. Lily looks worried. "Does your friend often do that?" she asks quietly. Violet bounces impatiently, waiting to see if Norv will come through.>roll Navigation>Rabi and Aegis get +2 due to having found a path to the canals before>>730058
You find somewhere to hide: an empty trash can, barely big enough to fit you. It doesn't look very comfortable, but it's better than being turned into a mannequin. You force yourself into the can and apply some of the powder, pulling the lid back over, just as you hear the Keepers round a corner.
You hear them scouring the area, mumbling to each other in their garbled, synthesized voices. One of them, accompanied by an Observer, trots right up to the can where you're hiding and lifts the lid. You stare right into its blank, wrapped face, barely able to move or speak. It stares for what feels like forever.
It moves on, dismissing you. The powder conceals you from its view, and a few moments later, you hear them move on, continuing to scour the streets for you.
Eventually, you hear a faint shimmering sound, and see a faint silvery light coming from the crack in the bin lid. It looks like one of Dawn's Silver Doors.
If I can actually move I immediately try to quietly climb out of the can and jump through the door.
Hermodur focuses more on keeping an eye out for anything dangerous. [1d10] for PERCEPTION
Also, navigation if you'll allow both. [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
''This place is worse than I thought then. How do you know all this, Lilura?'' Aegis whispers as she leads the way with the dog
'1d10' navigationRoll #1 3 = 3
Etrigan looks disturbed. Ah. …Well, they'd be hard pressed to capture me, at any rate. I don't bend easily.
Ganzen scuttles into the room, and both he and your two companions watch with curiosity and awe as you invoke Creation as an orb of light. Before you, the rune appears - or rather, several instances of it, interlocked and spinning wildly like a model of an atom, sparkling with an unidentifiable colour. "Incredible," Marisol breathes. "Even while serving my Lady I never saw anything quite like that." Not even Dawn could pull that off,
Etrigan comments with awe.
He suddenly seems distracted by something, ears shooting up sharply and looking behind you, perking up like a startled deer. While you don't see anything out of the ordinary, you are vaguely aware of a dread presence, something terrible watching over you.He's behind you,
Etrigan warns. …I think he feels what you've conjured.
"Yeah, her magic is pretty taxing- we'll just need to be a little careful, is all." he says, helping steady Dawn a little. He offers her a cloth to wipe her face, before looking around to try and remember the right wway to go.
[1d10+2] NavigationRoll #1 2 + 2 = 4
Following Rabi's directions, i try to keep an eye out for the right path as i hold the cargo steady.
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 6 = 6
Your body doesn't respond at first. Luckily, they didn't give you the full injection, so you can still move somewhat. You manage to hurl yourself out of the can and through the portal.>>730070
She takes it with barely audible thanks, and a slight smile.>>730068
"I've been here most of my life," she replies. "I'd give anything to never see this place again.">>730066>>730067>>730068>>730070>>730071
Norv comes through the Silver Door, almost collapsing onto the ground. He looks pale and clammy. It looks like he's been poisoned. Violet rushes to help him, grabbing him before he can hit the ground, breathing a sigh of relief and holding him close. "Are you alright?" she asks, fraught with worry.
Lilura looks him over. She recognizes his symptoms immediately. "Stoneskin. It doesn't look like a heavy dose. It should wear off by the hour. You'll be okay," she reassures him. Dawn almost keels over as she closes the Door, grabbing Hermodur's arm inadvertently for support. She pulls away, a bit embarrassed at her weakness. "…Sorry about that. It never used to be this hard…"
You continue forward at a snail's pace, escorting the flying carpet laden with goods lower and lower into the bowels of Last Hearth. You get turned around more than once, and have to hide to avoid the occasional Keeper patrol, but it's made easier by sticking to the shadows, and making as little noise as possible. Lilura advises you to hold your breath to hide from Keepers more effectively. "They can hear us breathing, and our hearts beating," she says grimly. "Non-living are harder for them to find."
Eventually, you descend through a series of narrow wooden bridges, stairs and cramped alleys, coming to the lowest layers of the city. Shrouded in fog and permeated with the smell of sewage and death, the canals are a maze unto themselves. Curiously, you can hear the faint sound of whirring machinery, coming from inside the walls. It seems to be coming from the Parliament House at the center of the city.
Violet wrinkles her snout. "Ugh, I can smell it even through the mask." "Watch your step," Lilura warns, pointing out the mold and slime clinging to every surface. "And stay out of the water. There's dead things in there. And worse. Cremators and Wretches aren't the only thing to worry about here." "I'm glad I can't smell this place,"
Purdue comments. "It's probably as bad as it looks. Reminds me of Queen Kairon's oubliettes."
Dawn looks uncomfortable with her surroundings, staying quiet.
Norv can feel the paralysis starting to wear off. He can move a bit more freely now, albeit sluggishly. >-2 to all rolls
"What has your strength fading?" Hermodur asks Dawn with a look of concern.>>730072
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 3 = 3
''Excellent work Master Norvegicus, as expected'' Aegis nods ''Is Purdue still with you?''
''Worst case scenery, we could maybe use the water eaters''
'1d10'Roll #1 2 = 2
I chuckle and mumble, "Never better. Looks like I managed to lead them all away." I try to take a deep breath, but it cuts off shorter than I'd like.
For now I let Violet continue to carry me, trying to regain more of my strength. I can faintly smell everything through the mask designed to protect my breathing. I can only imagine how everyone else is doing. "Seems like everywhere we go makes you wish you'd lose your sense of smell."
I turn my head toward the whirring. "Getting the feeling we should be worried about that. Anyone have any idea how far along we are?"
My face grows a little hot, and I'm sure if my body didn't feel like it was made of wet sand I'd beam with peide. I weakly reach down and tap him. "Yep. Both of us made it through alright."
[1d10-2]Guess I'll see if I can peecept tooRoll #1 2 - 2 = 0
''You did good, the distraction you caused opened a good window for us to pass through. But please dont take any more risky measures like that if you can, it was difficult holding Violet down so she wouldnt jump in after you''
''We are almost there by the way''
I pale as we enter the canals, memories of bleached tentacles flooding back to the forefront. i do my best to keep clear of the water, intimately familiar with what could lurk below.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
Zunden stays quiet for a moment, taking in the scintillating colors within the orb and moving it between her two claws.
"..I ztill do not know what zhey meant when zhey called me a Zcriniarii. If zhey wizh to keep dark prezenze here, zhen I will only continue to make brighter lightz to cazt him out.
" Zunden turns her head and stares at the space that was behind her, steeling her expression for a moment.
She shakes her head, "Ze dizcovery iz fazcinating but it ztill doezn't help ze immediate zituation. Zomezhing to diztract ze guardz. I cannot hope to Zever zhem all from zight in one invocation, too many individualz. Ztill, in practize zevering zomeone from zight haz been ze mozt effective way of dezeption.
"Yeah." I give Violet an apologetic look. "I should've use the vanishing powder before I sneaked out. I just didn't want everything to grind to a halt from the very beginning. We're close, and I was probably the best bet, having delt with them before already."
"Dawn, you okay? We could help you along, if you need it." He says, concern in his voice.
When they make it down to the canals, he grimaces a little bit and frowns. "I expected it to be bad, but… Jeez." Rabi says, looking around a little.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
''We have the entire night to go through with this, if there is one thing we dont need, is to rush. Slow and stealthy wins the race
"Tell that to whatever that is." I nod toward the general direction of the mechanical noises.
>>730080>>730072>feel free to respond separately to the two posts, just wanted to make sure there was something to respond to with the previous post while I tried wording this.
Zunden rubs her chin, thinking of applications of the different runes. "What of zevering a location from accezz. Not cutting it from exziztenze… only from accezz.
" Zunden gets up and immediately gets to work testing her theory, isolating one of the dining room tables so she can access either side of it, and drawing the Severance rune. She thinks of severing the distance between one side of the table and the other, so that if she was to walk into the table she'd only emerge on the other side.
[1d10+1] Experimentation with SeveranceRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
''We can afford to take fifteen minutes to plan a path from a hideout, find a breach in their patroling patterns and sneak through''
"I'm… not sure," she admits. "I think it's connected to the breakthrough I made, concerning the thaumic energies that manifest in the rainbow portals. Or maybe it's just everything that's… that's happened lately. I guess I'm just not half the mare I used to be." She gives a weak smile of encouragement. "But I'll be okay. I just have to find a way to circumvent this rut.">>730074"Present and accounted for!"
Purdue says cheerily. >>730075
Lily looks to where the Keepers went. "Yeah. Doesn't look like they'll be back any time soon."
Violet hoists you onto her back, carrying you like a sack of potatoes, face down. You can tell she's struggling with your weight, but doesn't complain, moving along in silence, huffing as she keeps putting one hoof in front of the other, occasionally readjusting her balance.
Lily shrugs. "I try to avoid coming this far when I can. An hour to go till we get to the aqueduct. Maybe more." "With any luck, the rendezvous with Zunden will go off without a hitch," Dawn adds.>>730081>>730083
"Aegis is right," says Violet. "If we rush, we get caught. If we get caught, it's going to be a lot hairier. The important part is you're safe now.">>730082
Dawn nods, smiling again. "I'll be okay. Just need to dial it back a bit. I don't know why this keeps happening…">>730082>>730079>>730077>>730074>>730073
You press on towards the aqueduct. As the mechanical noises grow louder, Rabi points out something odd in the machinery sounds. There's something else layered under it. …Singing. Almost like a church service.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcNNijfPHOo
"Tonight?" Lily mumbles, looking nervous. She doesn't elaborate. Violet's hairs stand on end as she hears it. No one in the party dares say a word.
You press on. The path ahead is a single straight tunnel, which then forks in a Y shape. Before you can assess the paths, you notice a problem. There are about eight figures up ahead. Not Keepers or Observers, and not the beetle-like Cremators Aegis and Rabi saw. These are different. Equine silhouettes, but misshapen. Malformed. Some have enlarged limbs, or shrunken ones, or none at all. An awful sound is coming from them, garbled, unintelligible speech, pastiches of something you'd hear from the Keepers, low and distorted."Alert. Outside every counterpart vanishes a physicist. Citizens are erased in blanket verdicts."
Lily freezes, looking fearful of the shambling figures. "Wretches," she whispers. "No way around them either. What should we do?"
"Do they have any method of summoning backup?" Hermodur asks Lily.
''What are they exactly?''
"I don't think we spotted any of these. What even are these things? Some sort of messed-up Keeper?" he asks, reaching for his bow again and readying a shot uneasily.
Stepping back, i keep low and ready my shivs for a struggle.
"Gruesome things, aren't they?"Roll #1 10 = 10
Seeing how much of a strain I am, I stumble off of her and shamble along beside her, keeping one of my hands on her back. "Really wish I coulda brought a weapon. I might have something, but I'd hate to use it already in case we have something else to worry about. We gonna try to sneak around them somehow? Or fight?">>730089
"My guess is failed Keepers, from the sound of them."
Though you see nothing when you look behind you, you get the feeling you are face to face with this unknowable being, staring into what passes for his soul as he stares into yours.
Marisol does a bit of a double take, looking over to you as she leans on one of the support beams, arms crossed. "What was that word?" she asks, looking curious.>>730085
You draw the Severance rune, then test it. It doesn't seem to have the intended effect, but it does have an interesting one. It is now difficult, but not impossible, to access that side of the table. Pressing against the area surrounding it is like pushing against some soft, malleable surface, like invisible putty. With enough force, however, you can break on through. Ganzen sees you pushing against the air and joins in, looking spooked by the effect and jumping away like a startled cat.
''So long as they dont have the sirens, eliminating them is an option''
"Not anymore," Lily replies, shaking her head. "They're just here to scare people off from coming down here, I think. They're not linked to the Keepers anymore.">>730090
"This must be a new batch they threw out," she muses.>>730090>>730092>>730092
"Some of them are failed Keepers. Others used to be, but they're no good anymore. Usually if they're damaged they rebuild them, but they all fail in time. Those that aren't fit for service get thrown down into the undercity to attack whatever else ends up down here… and when they fail and collapse, the Cremators reduce them to dust." She watches with fear and disgust as the Wretches stumble about, occasionally swiping madly at thin air, as if trying to fend off a nonexistent attacker. She looks like she's going to be sick.>>730091
You hang back a bit, crouching and stepping into the shadows, ready to fight if need be.
Hermodur puts his hand to mjolnir's grip. "Then, simply removing them seems like the fastest solution. Agreed?"
"Yep. Seems like our best bet. I don't really have a weapon with me, though."
"If they're not linked, then maybe we can just handle them. Are they particularly hardy, or not so much? It's hard to tell…"
''Indeed, but dont rush into combat yet. If the fighting alerts the Keepers, either from the noise of fighting or if one of them has a working horn, it will likely be the end for us, I would rather we minimized that risk''
"Well, she said they can't call for reinforcements. So, we just have to do it quietly."
"Most of them seem hardly able to stand, i can't imagine they would present that
much of a threat.." i reply, eying the group of aberrations ahead of us.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
''Not linked, does not exactly mean unable to fire their loud horns''
Violet splits her twinblade in two and hands you one of the swords without a word. She seems extremely on edge.>>730101As you watch the Wretches mumbling and shambling, you notice something moving in the waters below. A slender, colorless appendage form shifts through the sewage, lurking vacuously near the surface.>>730096>>730097>>730098>>730099>>730101
"I'm not too good at fighting," Lily says with a tinge of regret. "Sorry. This is up to you guys. Just… don't underestimate them. I mean I've never seen them in action, but even in this sorry state they can still put up a fight, I imagine."
Violet nods and starts sneaking toward them. "I say we cut them down before they have a chance to react and call for backup," she says quietly. She seems eager to cut the hapless things down where they stand.
''That is a plan as well…'' Aegis agrees with Violet, conjuring a set of crystal orbs
'1d10' homing magicRoll #1 5 = 5
"Fazcinating, not nearly what I waz zhinking of but it'll work juzt ze zame. If I could plaze zuch a barrier between zhem and ze guardz, zhey could have enough time to ezcape.
Zunden turns back to Marisol, "Zcriniarii, ze Oneiromanzer refered to me az one after I had a vizion of Zhree figurez. He waz zhere, and zhey were familiar wizh hiz prezenze.
I take the blade and nod. "Sounds good to me." I take a deep breath and step into the shadowsx trying to hide well enough to get the jump on one of them.
[1d10]StealthRoll #1 5 = 5
"I'm not usually one for quiet, but I can do fast," Hermodur nods as he draws Mjolnir.
He looks at each of the wretches and tries to determine which one is the strongest.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
My focus breaks. In a cold sweat, i stall in my approach as i glimpse the pale flesh of that familiar creature. It takes great effort to not drop my shivs as i steady my breathing before moving forward to prepare.Not again.. It can't happen again..
Etrigan tests it himself. Simple. But effective nonetheless. If nothing else it should slow them down.
"Scriniarii," she parrots, mulling the word over. "It means 'Archivist' in one of the old tongues, if I remember correctly. "I remember Grosvenor using it in conversation with Lysander. Many times. It wasn't my place to ask questions, though. Perhaps the word means something to a scholar of this land. Or some ancient being. I think there's a legend of an Archivist in the Echoes, but I am not a folklore expert." She shrugs. "Something to look into, perhaps."
Rabi readies a pair of bolts in his magic bow, aiming towards a couple in the back.
You conjure a single crystal orb above your head, poised to strike at your command.>>730106
The Stoneskin poison is beginning to wear off more. You manage to will your limbs out of torpor and creep alongside Violet, coming closer to the Wretches.>>730106>>730107>>730108>>730110>>730108
You get a closer look at the Wretches. The name is apt; they look like some part of them wants to be put out of their misery. They are little more than bedraggled, malformed Keepers, their uniforms torn, helmets cracked, bandages around the face stripped away to reveal the desecrated skull underneath. Battered and broken as they are, they still look formidable; some of them have had their extremities ripped away, revealing jagged steel in lieu of bones, while others still cling to their maces and crossbows, while others still carry missing body parts as makeshift clubs. They continue to mutter nonsensically, unaware of your presence. "Alert. Alert. Alert. Alert. Alert. Cauterize the canal block without the unsuccessful magazine. Parliament serves an existence of angle ignores. Priority: unregistered boat steams throughout a case. Alert."
Dawn attempts to conjure some Homing Magic of her own.
Lily hangs back and waits by the carpet, watching anxiously as you prepare to fight.>>730107
Mjolnir comes to life in your hands. As you do so, you get the attention of one of the Wretches. This one looks relatively intact, save for its face, which has been completely annihilated by a blunt blow, ostensibly a mace or a hammer. It turns to you with hostile intent, shambling towards you. "Warning. Above a dynamic tool proceeds the rank mount. Code reminder: Metaphor. Line. Clamp."Roll #1 8 = 8
"I've planned to look into it, again when zhingz are not zo dire.
" Zunden begins to draw the symbol of severance into the air again.
[1d10+1] Severance (Frozen)
"Ztill, a diztraction would be bezt az well, I only fear uzing a Zevitor in ze caze it would damage ze zhip zomehow.
"Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6
Rabi looses the magic bolt, which splits apart and veers for two of the crossbow-wielding Wretches.
[1d10+2] Magic Bow (Split)Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7
You conjure a shimmering copy of Severance in the air. It hangs behind you like a halo, rotating idly on occasion. Marisol watches, curious to see how you'll use it.We have some time now,
Etrigan points out. You could test the limits of a Servitor's range. If that doesn't work, we'll have to find another way to draw their attention.
Following Rabi's example, Aegis releases her homing orb into the wretches backline, combining it with an extra magical ice bolt in a freezing spiral
'1d10' homing magic, ice
'2d10' magic bolt, iceRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 5, 2 = 7
Coating a shiv in midnight oil, i skulk forward to strike at the keeper approaching Hermodur, in an attempt to bring it down quickly
[1d10] sleep serumRoll #1 2 = 2
Hermodur pulls Mjolnir back, readying himself for a swing.
>Hunter's Eye on the Wretch approaching Hermodur
He takes a few long strides forward. Once the two of them are met within Mjolnir's range, he lets the rocket swing his arms around, aiming for the Wretch's head. Hopefully, that will make the minimal amount of noise.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the larger rollRoll #1 7 + 3 = 10
/ Roll #2 2 + 3 = 5
I pick one nearby and slip out of the shadows, swinging the blade in a wide upward arc with both hands.
Zunden taps the side of her head, "At worzt, I could alwayz invoke Return to zend ze Zervitor back to ze zhip. I can ztart experimenting wizh zhat now.
Taking the ship back to the side of the mountain, Zunden summons a servitor, intent on seeing just how far it can go with her commands, and if it ever loses it's ability to be controlled at a certain length.
You loose a magic arrow which splits in two mid-flight, spinning in a helix pattern before deviating and hitting both Wretches. Almost in unison, they twitch and start loading their weapons. "When does the motto map its marked academic? Do you poison the cycle without the muttering initiative?"
[1d10] vs Rabi>>730115
Your magic bolt hits the wall and fizzles, while the homing magic shot pierces straight through one of the Wretches. It doesn't seem to be fazed by this. "Peer across an associate weapon, anticitizen."
[1d10] vs Aegis>>730116
You lash out at the Wretch from the shadows, cutting it across the leg. Sawdust spills out, but it doesn't care, or even notice.>>730117
As it approaches, you destroy what's left of its head with a single powerful blow, obliterating it in a fiery conflagration. The large Wretch staggers and takes a knee, but recovers quickly, swinging at you unhindered despite its missing head. "PArliamENTarIAnS hAil the MOUNTaIN, AnD HER gaLAXY fEVErs THe QUANTUM PERCenTaGE.">>730118
You lash out at one of the Wretches, slashing its back open with a single slice. Sawdust spills out on to the floor as it topples forward, struggling to right itself. "Nonillion.">>730113>>730115>>730116>>730117>>730118
Violet quickly joins in, running one of the Wretches through with what should be a fatal blow. To her surprise, though, the Wretch is relatively undamaged by this, struggling to pull the blade free from its abdomen. "Warning. Sociocidal impulses."
A second Wretch lurches towards Violet, swinging at her clumsily. She retaliates by swinging the blade around, impaled Wretch and all, clubbing one with the other.
[1d10] Violet attack
The Wretch attacking Hermodur hurls itself at him in a body slam.
[1d10] Crit range -2Roll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
/ Roll #3 2 = 2
/ Roll #4 7 = 7
/ Roll #5 10 = 10
/ Roll #6 8 = 8
Dawn fires three orbs and a magic bolt at one of the Keepers.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]Roll #1 7, 6, 1 = 14
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #3 5 + 2 = 7
Your companions watch as you conjure up a Servitor. Obediently, it drifts down, going further and further away from the ship. At a range of about 30 feet, its form starts to become more transparent and unstable, while at 100 feet, it fizzles out altogether.
I try to stay calm as I lunge at the downed retch, dig my foot into the ground, and slice at its throat before it can join back in the fight.
[1d10]ImproviseRoll #1 8 = 8
"Well… I guess I can afford to be a little louder…" Hermodur mutters as he lets go of Mjolnir with one hand. He lets his one arm rotate all the way around until he's holding Mjolnir above his head. He grabs it with his other hand and swings it straight down, plowing the Wretch into the hard ground.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 1 + 3 = 4
/ Roll #2 10 + 3 = 13
''This isnt working effectively. They can persist without essential body parts'' Aegis says as she covers her shield in a thick layer of frost and sharp icicles before stricking the Wretch that approached her
'1d10' Earthen strike, iceRoll #1 4 = 4
With poisons doing little, i switch tactics, slashing at the wretch fighting violet with both shivs into its legs!
[1d10] Dual, meleeRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
" Zunden thinks, getting another servitor to fetch a piece of scrap wood from the damaged rooms and carry it off similarly. "-I wonder when ze Zervitor lozez ze capability to interact wizh it'z zurroundingz.
" Zunden repeats the test again with plank in the Servitor's hands.
You send one out again. It seems that they can travel about 70 feet before becoming completely intangible.
You draw the blade across its throat, spilling more sawdust, but it doesn't seem to hurt it much.>>730124
The Wretch rams into you, knocking you backwards and almost falling into the canal itself. You stumble and regain your footing, retaliating against the attach. With a devastating blow, you slam the Wretch into the ground, crushing its torso under the weight of your enormous maul. It twitches and shudders horribly, then is still. Going for the chest seems the most effective stratagem.>Hermodur takes 5 hits>>730126
You slice down where the hamstrings would be, blades sinking through mummified flesh and sawdust, slicing down to the ankles and exposing the metal beams within. It sinks to its knees."No. Classic suffering past my rotating output."
Violet gives you a nod of thanks.>>730125
You artfully dodge the poisoned bolt, spinning around to strike an incoming Wretch. You go to swing at it, but your blow is interrupted by its own, clapping you over the ears. Your head rings, and you are disoriented for a moment. "Do not obstruct the persecuted autobiography. Amputation is now 3 milligrams." >>730123>>730124>>730126>>730125
"So much for quick and quiet," Violet grunts as she takes a blow from the Wretch. She retaliates by swinging the sword around, clobbering one Wretch with the other and downing them both.
The three downed Wretches struggle to recover.
Dawn blows one of the Wretches to smithereens with a barrage of magic missiles, targeting its limbs and torso. "The head is a distraction," she warns. "Go for their legs, and their chest."
>4/8 Wretches remain
The Wretch attacking Aegis swings again!
[1d10]Roll #1 3, 5, 10 = 18
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
Seeing as she got herself too deep in the fight, Aegis tries to back off and return to the backline, preparing another barrage as she does
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 4 = 4
Hermodur quickly swings Mjolnir at all three downed Wretches.
>Hot Irons on downed wretches [1d10+2][1d10+2]>critails on 2, DC-1, take higher rollRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12
Leaving the downed ones to Hermodur, the stallion takes aim at the one swinging for Aegis, and fires off a bolt of Lighting.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2] Magic Bolt (Lighting)Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3
/ Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5
I hold the sword in both hands and lunge at the thing, trying to drive it into its chest. Seems like these things just won't go down.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
>>730128"Hmn, zo now iz ze izzue how cloze ze zhip haz to be,I do not know how effective of a diztraction a zervitor could be if we zhip haz to be zo cloze.
Zunden snickers, thinking of the wood plank she just had the Servitor carry. "Hold on, I'm going down to ze zhip'z core. I have an idea.
She prepares a Union rune in the air as she makes her way down.
[1d10+1] Frozen UnionRoll #1 1 + 1 = 2
knocking the broken keeper to it's knees, i focus on one of the other injured wretches while Violet finishes the other off, carving it up before it can stand.
[1d10] DualRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
You take a blow from the Wretch again, jagged, twisted metal gouging your cheek. "How can the skip ascend…"
You back off and summon a single orb again, ready to lash out at it.>Aegis takes 2 hits>>730135
As one of them tries to get back up, you carve into its chest, stabbing a shiv into the clockwork at its core, jamming the gears. It shivers and shakes in its death throes before falling limp.>>730131
You swing the hammer low, slamming all three Wretches into the slimy brick wall. They writhe, then are still, fragments of shattered clockwork spilling from the crater they are buried in. Spidery cracks run out from the impact, loosening bits of debris.>>730132
Your shot hits the Wretch in the foreleg, disabling that leg but not downing it just yet. "Insistence. It succeeds opposite the balustrade.">>730133
You charge the remaining Wretch, impaling it through the chest, rending the clockwork in its insides, spilling sawdust every which way, driving the sword almost to the hilt. Pointing it downwards, you kick the Wretch off of the blade, throwing the lifeless corpse to the ground, dangling over the edge of the canal precariously.>>730130>>730131>>730132>>730133>>730134
As the last of the Wretches are defeated, Dawn breathes a sigh of relief, not being used to direct combat like that. Violet starts sifting through their remains for any valuables. Lily looks on with a huge grin, beaming as she ogles you all. "W-wow! That was incredible! I've never seen anyone clean up shop like that before!">roll Perception, and looting if desired
bringing the last of them down, i sigh in relief, sheathing my shivs and taking a moment to join Violet in checking the wretches, mindful of the area around me.
"I'd say these were a fair bit easier than the functional keepers to deal with, thankfully."
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
"Maybe we could come up with another solution…" Marisol starts wracking her brains to come up with something. Both she and Etrigan stay behind as you go down to the ship's core. It's dark down here; darker than you remember.
You try to conjure up a Union rune. The iridescent triple circle hangs in the air, shimmering unnaturally - then, shatters, dissolving like an ice cube in an oven.Curiosity.What will you doWith this newfound strengthScriniarii?
"Yeah, guess experience'll do that."
[1d10]LootRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
"Jeez, these things never shut up." the stallion says, gritting his teeth in annoyance as the Wretch is downed, but not out. He lets out a relieved sigh as it's finally put down, and frowns a bit "Everyone okay? If you're hurt, we oughta tend to it quick. Infections here could be, ah, really bad.">>730136
"Thanks, I guess. We get a lot of experience on that front." He says to Lily, offering a bit of a smile.
Aegis sighs, dismissing her orb ''I underperformed horribly. I was caught out of position, lost focus before and during the fight and contributed next to nothing'' She shakes her head, glancing at Lilura ''I would have liked showing what I am truly capable of, but I pray that I dont get the opportunity to do so''
'1d10+1' faithless lottin
'1d10' perceptionRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
Hermodur puts Mjolnir back on his back.
"We should keep moving," he says as he looks around for any signs of trouble.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
>>730137"I hope we don't get to find out,"
Purdue comments from Norv's belt.
You don't find much but gears and sawdust among the remains. >>730139
You find a large, rusted iron key on the belt of one of the Wretches. The code "A24" is printed on its head.>>730140
"I'm alright," Violet calls. "Just got my bell rung is all. No harm done.">>730139>>730140
She can't seem to get over what she saw you guys pull off. "Yeah! I bet you guys have seen all sorts of crazy stuff out there. Wish I could do anything like that…">>730141
She blinks. "…Well, if that was you being sloppy, I'd hate to see what it's like when you're on point! …Actually, I'd kind of love to see that.">>730139>>730137>>730141>>730140Looking to the edge of the canal, you can see a few deathly pale, rope-thin tendrils snaking out, soundlessly swaying to and fro as if observing, curious to examine what's left after the battle. Dawn, Lily and Hermodur are precariously close to the edge, oblivious to the impending danger…>>730142
You look around for any more trouble. Nothing ahead, nothing on the ceiling…
A tentacle bursts out of the water, wrapping around your ankle, tight as a hangman's noose. With uncharacteristic force for such a frail appendage, it starts trying to violently drag you under, causing you to lose your balance. Violet cries out and rushes to your aid, trying to sever the clammy tendril!
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Rabi turns to say something to Lily and Violet, before letting out a startled shout and flinging out a bolt of silvery magic from his bow at the base of the tentacle.
[1d10+2] Magic Bow (Astral Strike)
"There's something else in the water! Be careful!"Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3
Aegis quickly jumps back into action, readying a homing spell array as she sees the tentacle closing in on the others
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 3 = 3
"Wha-" is all Hermodur is able to say before the tentacle grabs him. He definitely didn't expect this body of water to be large or deep enough for a creature like this.
He claws at it violently. [1d10] claws of life!Roll #1 10 = 10
With Hermodur about to suffer a similar fate to my own, i gallop towards him, drawing a shiv to help cut him loose!
[1d10] MeleeRoll #1 10 = 10
I pocket the key and move to ask Violet if she's alright before the tentacle grabs Hermodur and she takes off. Pulling Vi's sword, I follow after her and hack at it.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Dawn and Lily jump and scramble away from the edge as Hermodur is grabbed. Hermodur kicks and claws, clinging to the ledge first with both hands, then with one, scrambling and lashing at the pale tendrils. Between Violet and Norv's hacking, Silver's sustained slicing, and Hermodur's frantic clawing, the tendril is severed, almost immediately shriveling and mummifying before your eyes. The stump retracts into the pale, formless mass in the water, and off in the distance, you hear a horrific, shrill, mindless shriek, almost as of vacuous anger. You stand poised to fight off another attack from this thing, but it never comes.
Looking down at where it grabbed Hermodur, you can see he has suffered the same fate Silver did. Color has completely drained from that patch of his ankle, being a dull, lifeless bone-white, with some ugly, sensitive purple welts beginning to form. Lily looks both fascinated and horrified. "A Pale Lurker," she breathes. "I thought they were an urban myth…"
Violet keeps well away from the edge of the canal now, looking off at the bifurcated path ahead. ""W-we should keep going," she says, raising her voice slightly. "Before that thing decides it wants to try again." "What was it?"
Purdue asks curiously. "I couldn't see a thing from back here."
Dawn offers to help Hermodur up with telekinesis. "Can you walk?" she asks with slight concern.
"Pale Lurker, apparently," I tell Purdue. "We have a bestiary. Maybe there's more about it in there now. Unless it has to be in contact with the things we run into." I look over at Hermodur. "But yeah. Probably souldn't stick around."
''Pale Lurker'' Aegis speaks up, producing the bestiary and magically flipping its pages until stopping at an specific one
''Commonly found in dark areas, these mysterious aquatic monsters prey on unaware targets, extending one or more pallid tentacles and attempting to drown their victims'' She quotes looking up at Norvegicus from the book ''Extremely vulnerable to bright light and sudden heat''
"Let's hope it's the last we see of that." the stallion says, stowing his bow and letting out an uneasy sigh.>>730137
"You okay, Silver? Did it get you any?" he asks, concern in his voice.
I knit my brow and watch the part of the water the tentacles came from. "Somethin tells me it wont be. Seems like they show up in sewers a bunch.">>730622
"Right. That. Everyone alright?" I glance to Hermodur. "Looks like it got you pretty good."
Breathing heavily, i watch with wide-eyed focus as the lurker retreats for now. Catching my breath, i nod to violet.
"Right you are, Violet. The sooner we are away the better, with something like that
patrolling the water.."
I sigh as the remains of the lurker limb slough off into the water.
"..Quite alright, dear. Hesitant as i am to continue with these monsters in the water, we have a job to see through. My reservations will have to wait."
Zunden beckons forth her three orbs, letting Severance and Creation orbit around her as she holds the miniature sun in her offhand.
" Zunden clears her throat, "-I zhought I had made it known you were not welcome here."
"Unfortunately, yeah. At least we'll be more ready for it, right?" he offers, looking back towards the water.>>730627
Rabi nods a little, and gives the mare a kiss on the forehead.
"So, does this go away?" Hermodur asks Silver, being a victim of the same sort of effect. He looks to his leg with concern.
Lily keeps a wary eye on the murky waters below as you continue through the canals, undisturbed by the Lurker for now. You come to the fork in the path you saw earlier, the high, circular tunnels leading to parts unknown:
The leftmost path is more well lit, with strange, bioluminescent fungi clinging to the walls and ceiling. The faint, eerie singing you could hear earlier seems to be coming from this direction, as does the sound of machinery.
The rightmost path is dark, and you can hear a faint trudging sound coming from it, like a single solitary figure wandering aimlessly. If you strain your eyes, you can see a tiny pinpoint of light in the distance here; it seems this long, dark slog opens up into a brightly lit area, ostensibly the end of the canals.
Lily sizes up both areas. "Hm… Maybe we should… Uh… I don't know. I don't come here often… Or ever…"
Violet ponders the fork for a minute. "Hey Rabi, Aegis, does this look familiar to you guys? You said you'd been here before, right?">both of you roll Insight
Dawn, being blind, has no strong opinion one way or the other. Purdue gives his two cents, however. "If it were up to me, I'd suggest taking the left path. At least we'll be able to see where we're going. Though, there might be Keepers that way. Both seem valid, really."
"I'd say avoiding keepers is more important than anything else right now," Hermodur provides his own commentary.
"Relax, Lily. We'll find our way through this in time. Aegis and I scouted it out earlier… sort of."Roll #1 9 = 9
"I'm afraid not.. I reply, gesturing to the slightly paler fur along my back leg with a wing. "The welts will fade in time, but the wretched things leave quite the mark."
"I count myself lucky that my fur is already rather pale, else i'd be beside myself in grief.. Not to say it looks worse on you, of course." i add, wincing at Hermodur's discolored ankle.
>>730628UnimportantLesserYou cannotHalt the tideWith a broomScriniariiKnow thisThe game is doneThe mummer's dragonHas scattered the piecesHe has left me little choiceBut to be more direct
The Union rune you conjured reappears, though he does not. It seems he is reduced, for you at least, to a disembodied voice. As you watch, it begins to expand inexorably, slowly but surely threatening to envelop you.
I nod. Mainly because one or two usually seems to mean more. I let out an awkward chuckle. "Yeah. Ain't really looking to getting juiced again today. That stuff is nasty." I rub the back of my head. "Anyone got one of Z's suns? Seems like we're home free if we can deal with the darkness and whatever's waddling around in there. Probably be best if the sneakies snuck in behind, though, just in case."
"I'm just concerned about the health effects," Hermodur says, looking at his ankle still. "I mean, I'm already a mangled mess as it is. This changes nothing about that.">>730637>>730631
"I still have my sun," Hermodur says, pulling it out of his pocket.
"More of those damaged keepers are preferable to whatever may be singing to our left, i'd say. It may be dark, but given how quickly we dispatched them earlier a hooffull more hardly seems a concern."
"You, uh… You think you'd be alright taking the front? Or do you wanna hang back for a bit?" I pointedly glance down at his ankle.
I nod. Sounds like we mostly got the same idea, then."
"It's what I'm here for," Hermodur nods. He holds his sun up high and takes the darker path.
>just going to point out I'm at 1 hit
"Indeed. If something down here is able to sing
, we're dealing with more than a simple machine and i'd rather not take that chance."
''So we did. I recall that the sound of machinary was odd to me. I do not know for certain what lies beyond the path on the left, but it was guarded with keepers, who werent bothered by the loud banging of machines coming from inside… My guess is that the keepers are made there'' She points out
'1d10' insightRoll #1 2 = 2
"Well, alright. Let me just-" I dig around in one of my pockets. "I was gonna ask Silvy to tinker with this this to try to get more uses out of it, but better safe than sorry." I pull out my last Ashbrandy and pass it to him.
"Let's save it until I need it," Hermodur says, pushing it back toward Norv. "I can take a few hits."
I shrug. "Then don't use it now. just hang onto it and give it back to me if you don't need it. I have a few other tricks for backup, just in case."
"Don't zpeak to me of your game, you know I care not for chezz. Even zo, it zoundz az if you have lozt more and more piezez every day."
She grips her staff tightly, "Dezpite my ignoranze towardz zhe true nature of who Zhey are, you know I've invoked Zheir power before. I will
continue to learn more of ze nature of ze Zhree."
Hermodur takes it and puts it in his pocket.
You recall that taking the left path would be the most direct route, but there were a handful of Keepers on patrol at the time. It's unclear if they'd still be there now. The dark path would be much longer, but potentially safer.>>730645
"Those are no Keepers," Lily points out, her voice trembling. "It's… a gathering. The Parliament do this every once in a while. Especially leading up to their Hunt. Used to creep me out when we first moved in, hearing that noise coming up from the depths. …Still does, a bit."
"What does it mean?" Dawn asks with curiosity.
Lily shrugs. "The Parliament are a mysterious bunch. Keep to themselves. The Minister - you've probably heard his voice on the Speakers - no one's ever seen him in person. For all I know he doesn't even exist…">>730632>>730634>>730637>>730640>>730646
You pull out your suns and illuminate the path. Most of the canal here seems to be boarded over, making it slightly easier to progress, but most of them are rotted. Looking back, you see a few small, beetle-like automatons come out of the woodwork, disregarding you entirely as they swarm the defeated Wretches. As a group, they rear up on their hind legs, releasing a gout of flame from their undersides that begins to cremate the bodies. Lily winces and presses on, sticking close to you all, not daring to move out of the light.
Soon enough, Lily and Violet freeze in their steps as you see the silhouette of whatever's shambling about. It appears to be an automaton, but unlike the others you've seen up to know. While the details are unclear, it is obvious that this thing is huge, even dwarfing Hermodur. Several pipes seem to stick out from the top of it, while at the center is a glowing red light covered by metal bars, the same light you thought marked the end of the tunnel. It has no arms to speak of, but two broad, powerful metal legs.
The machine's intent is unclear. It continues to trundle aimlessly through the tunnel, taking up most of the space. Occasionally, it pauses to unleash a blast of heat with a loud hiss, battering you with a wave of steam. It seems oblivious to your presence, despite the glowing suns you carry.
"What is that?" Violet asks Lily in a low voice. She just gets a shrug in response. It's clear Lily's never seen something like this before.
"We shouldn't try to tangle with it," says Dawn, trying to move as quietly as possible so as not to draw its attention. "We can't risk it damaging the cargo."
''We could take it out with one group while another, smaller group guards the cargo from a safe distance'' Aegis says, conjuring some frozen orbs
''If we dismantle it, we wont have to worry about safe passage anymore''
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 1 = 1
I gulp. "Yeah. Maybe- Maybe this was a mistake." I look around at everyone. "I have 5 doses of vanishing powder left. Do you guys know how far we have left? Maybe I can pass it around and we can just, you know. Walk right by?" I do a quick headcount. "I don't have enough for everyone, though, so we probably shouldn't risk it if we can't get right by."
Hermodur silently follows Dawn, holding up his shield as he goes.
[1d10] for silence if necessaryRoll #1 8 = 8
"Let's see… I think you've got the right of it, Aegis. The left path's going to have Keepers, though not a whole bunch. The right path was darker, and… safer, in theory. Hard to say, now that we've seen what else can be here. Though, it's still good to keep it in mind as an option." he says, watching the beetle automaton swarm and dispose of the Wretches with a concerned look. "At least they don't care about us, I suppose.>>730652
"I've got, uh… I've got no clue. I don't think we spotted this when we scouted." he remarks, moving with the others.
''How about instead you use only one dose, on yourself, and approach it? See if you can deactivate it manually like the Keepers, or at least find some kind of weakness''>>730657
''We did not. this is probably some kind of rejected bigger model of the average Keeper that roams this area''
"Check that, definitely sure. I don't think this was here at all.">>730658
"Could be. They make an awful lot of weird things here."
Your words seem to fall on deaf ears as the rune continues to expand. It begins to rotate in place, slowly at first, then faster and faster, eventually moving towards you.You have shown me somethingVeryVerySpecial
Your rune, hijacked by the Oneiromancer's will, passes through you, sending a chill through your body that pierces to the bone. Turning around, you see it dematerialize, then rematerialize, spinning faster and faster as it begins to move throughout the ship, moving up the stairs and towards the rooms, as if seeking something. As it does, you continue to hear him speaking in your head.You are driftingFurther and further out to seaTowards the blindAnd terrible thingsAnd you have invited them hereThank you
Looking down at the Egg you carry, you feel a chilling, painful cold radiating from it in the Union rune's wake. From somewhere aboard the ship, you hear someone collapse to the floor with a resounding crash.
I open my mouth, look over at the furnace bot, look back to Aegis, open my mouth again, and finally close it. I gulp and shift a little. "You're- you're serious? You want me to try to tangle with that thing alone
? Do you really hate me that much, or you actually that confident in my -until recently underpracticed, mind you- skills?"
"Hmm.. If it shows no reaction to us or the lights, perhaps we could weave our way around while it takes pause?"
Aegis glances at the robot for a second and then back to Norv ''I have no ill feelings against you Master Norvegicus, but the chance to completely disarm it and allow us safe passage is crucial, and you are the one best suited for this task, its what I think''
I lick my chops and tap my finger against the side of my coat. "Alright," I say. "Alright. I'll do it. I think I have something perfect for this job anyway. Using it shouldn't be an issue as long as we can get out of here soon." I pull out a small orb with a wick sticking out of it in one hand and the vanishing powder in the other. "This might make some noise."
"Maybe some of us could try to sneak by without it," Violet points out, watching the lumbering automaton warily. "Or all of us could.">>730656
Dawn feels it out with her cane first before moving forward, managing to get behind the gigantic robot easily. You follow in her footsteps and remain completely undetected.>>730657>>730658
"Then where did it come from?" Lily wonders, watching it trundle around. "It's like… some kind of giant furnace," Violet points out. "Maybe it's linked to those beetle things.">>730662
Violet nods and starts sneaking around herself, eager to move on ASAP.
Lily tilts her head. "What is that?" she asks curiously as you pull out the orb.>>730654
Your magic misfires, firing off as an unstable volley of icy particles into the gloom, some of which glance off of the construct's chassis. It freezes in place, then starts lumbering in your general direction, curious as to what attacked it. Lily freezes like a deer in headlights as it starts to show signs of recognition. "Might be a good time to start moving, lass,"
Purdue comments, keeping a wary eye on the behemoth.Roll #1 7 = 7
''I think at this place, a little noise wont hurt. I imagine we are far away enough for the Keepers to not hear us''>>730659
''Master Rabi, you stay further in the backline with Lilura and guard the cargo. If something appears, warn us immediately, otherwise provide support if you can if a battle breaks out. Your arrows reach farther than my magic''
Aegis sneezes as she attempted to cast the spell, and quickly recomposes herself in time to get moving as she sees the behemoth approaching. She holds her breath and presses herself against the wall opposite of the construct, trying to sneak past it as it shambles closer
'1d10' sneekRoll #1 6 = 6
[1d10] for continuing on in silenceRoll #1 1 = 1
"Should we try to move the carpet past it?" i quietly ask "It seems distracted looking for Aegis."
"Do not reach your zhadowz out to ze light, dreamweaver, or find zhey cazt ze darknezz away." Zunden hisses, reaching towards the direction of the Union rune and remembering the melody of the Moonlight Sonata, thinking back to moment she attempted to create the Union rune orb.
>MOONLIGHT SONATA [A piece of music of uncertain origin. When played at night, the performer and anyone who hears it are filled with inspiration and improvement, gaining a single reroll of a failed roll to spend at any moment. The Sonata is long, and takes up to 3 turns to play in its entirety. Each subsequent turn playing the Moonlight Sonata grants the reroll a +1 bonus, up to +2. The Moonlight Sonata can only be performed twice every lunar cycle. Depending on the phase of the moon, altering fate through the Sonata may have unforeseen side effects.]
[1d10+2] UnionRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Gesturing to the others to assist, i try to start the carpet moving past the machine.
[1d10] gentle pushRoll #1 8 = 8
"It's a bomb. I just hope it's actually enough. I'll catch up with you guys in a sec." I pointedly look at Dawn. "Don't waste your energy this time. You'll need it for when we get out." I toss the vanishing dust on myself, take a deep breath, and make my way toward the giant robot from the side to get an idea of what I'm dealing with. Particularly how wide the furnace gap is and if there are any particularly large chimneys.
[1d10]Perception if neededRoll #1 8 + 5 = 13
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
As you reach out to the rune and close your eyes, you swear you hear the first few notes of the Moonlight Sonata in the back of your mind. When you open them, the rune is gone, hovering above your head, now in your control.Curiosity
You feel something coming from the Egg. Looking down at it, the unearthly chill is still emanating from it, but alongside it is a rhythmic thumping. Like a beating heart. You meddle with things beyond my reach nowThis isUnforeseenI will tell youThis one final thinghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6twHZCfGtQThere is a holeAt the center of everythingA hole that steadily expandsAnd empties existenceAnd you are at the center of the holeThe hole you cannot fillHide itRun from itFear itThe fate of this place cannot be alteredThe nothingnessIs inexorableScriniariiDo not delay unrealityYou are atomsIn monstrous existenceYou carry the hole nowWherever you goIt is youYou are itYou areAn extinction entity
"Could be, yeah. We did see some… furnaces, or something, in some parts. Maybe there's storage space down here for whatever these things are?" He says, frowning a little.
Rabi keeps an eye out, letting the others do… whatever it is they're doing to the machine.
[1d10] Perception, sticking back while keeping the carpet steady.Roll #1 5 = 5
(Swapping to sneak, then)
You manage to skirt around it undetected. The ground quakes with its very step as it begins to search for you, albeit unsuccessfully.>>730668
As you move onward, your foot goes through a rotting plank, taking a few others with it and stirring up the murky waters below. You see a pale form shift beneath it. The Lurker seems to be following you through the canals, waiting for another moment to strike.>>730671>>730674
Dawn helps with telekinesis, and Violet grabs the edge of it and pulls the cargo along, moving quietly past the giant machine. You are completely undetected, for now.>>730672
"You've… been carrying explosives this whole time?" Lily says with a tinge of worry.
You vanish into thin air once more and flank the robot, sizing it up. You get a good look at the machine now. It seems to be quite literally a walking incinerator; the central light is filled with glowing coals, while smoke pours intermittently from four chimneys at its top. Its metal body is covered in small panels, which seem to host something, while the legs are thick as your torso, and piston powered. It doesn't seem to be designed for combat, but it would be extremely difficult to destroy. For one, you're going to be hard pressed to get close enough to drop a bomb down; it radiates heat wherever it goes, its surface hot enough to burn you on a touch. You'd have to find a way to get to those chimneys without touching it. Alternatively, you could try to open the central door that leads to the coals, but that would risk drawing its attention.>>730674>>730672>>730671>>730668>>730667
Being close to the Incinerator presents its own problem; the heat radiating from it is almost unbearable. The closer you are, the more you run the risk of suffering burns, and the sweltering heat and steam is gradually wearing you down.>for every turn you are close to the Furnace, roll an instant saving throw to resist the heat
[3d10] Violet, Dawn, Lily save
"Let's just get rid of this thing and be done with it," Violet grunts as she weathers another heat wave. "Longer we stand around, more chances it's going to decide it doesn't like us or something."Roll #1 9, 6, 8 = 23
sweating from the heat, i keep pushing the cart further down the pathway.
[1d10] Heat resist
[1d10] pushRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
"We've nearly passed it now, i'd much rather work up a sweat than fight for our lives, given it's ignorance of us."
''No, fighting it now will just prolong our suffering in the heat, we must focus on leaving with the cargo'' Aegis hushes Violet, panting as the heat is gtting to her as well
'1d10' resistRoll #1 1 = 1
Zunden scowls, unnerved slightly by the pulsing egg but resolute feeling she's thwarted whatever the Oneiromancer just attempted.
"You do not dezide Fate, nor do I. Do not claim to be familiar wizh ze outcomez. You only zhow yourzelf when zhingz prove to not go az you have planned. Begone from here lezt I invoke Zheir power."
[1d10] Heat Resist
Rabi huffs a little, and tries to keep the cart moving.Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
Hermodur sees the others struggling and goes back to push the carpet with them.
[1d10] heat resist
[1d10] pooshRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
'1d10' to keep the dark from coming
Roll #1 6 = 6
>>730680Death can be postponedBut not deniedThis is the multiversal truthIt will come for youFor ThemFor meI crave itMore than you can know
You get a feeling like something rushing past you. It feels like a great weight is lifted off your shoulders all of a sudden. You get the feeling he's gone, for now.
Before you can stop to ponder what's happened, you hear Marisol at the top of the stairs. "Zunden? Zunden, are you down there? It's Etrigan… he's… something happened. You should come and see."
Deciding it's not much of a threat as long as we keep moving, I tuck the grenade away and rejoin the party. "I don't think it'll be much in a fight if we do have to fight it. Doesn't seem built for combat, but it's definitely built to last. I say we just get out of here as fast as we can."
[1d10]heat resistRoll #1 9 + 5 = 14
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
"Zo it waz not tied to ze Union rune, very well." Zunden sprints up the stairs to Marisol with a fierce gaze, following her to Etrigan. "You heard not my converzation wizh Etrigan but he ze Onieromanzer had been zpying upon uz for zome time and he had zight of him. He haz juzt zhown himzelf to me again."
You are forced to stop, catch your breath, then keep going. The heat keeps wearing you down, weakening your every step.>attacks against you crit on 9+ until the end of this area>>730681
As the Incinerator unleashes another blast of steam, you try to avoid it, but are standing too close. You take it right to the face, leaving you with painful yet mercifully superficial burns. "Are you alright?" Lily says with genuine concern. "I have some healing balms packed away somewhere. We can patch that up if you need it.">Aegis takes 1 wound>>730685>>730677
You rejoin the rest of the group as they sneak past the Incinerator. Though the heat is overwhelming, you remind yourself that you've survived an archdragon's breath before. This is nothing in comparison. The circumstances only strengthen your resolve even more.>-1 DC to all rolls until the end of this area>>730681>>730679>>730682>>730677>>730685
You manage to move past the Incinerator in one piece, leaving it to its aimless wandering. Unfortunately, its steps seem to have weakened the surrounding stone considerably. As you push on, some of the stone gives way, and one of the crates slips right off the carpet, crashing loudly through the rotting planks and sinking into the murky waters. Violet swears loudly at the sight, while Lily bites her lip in worry. Looking back, the sound seems to have caught the Incinerator's attention, and it starts lumbering back towards you steadily, unleashing a blast of steam in your direction. >roll to resist again
Dawn tries to retrieve the crate, straining to lift it out with telekinesis. It seems to have gotten bogged down.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
Marisol looks grim at the news, saying nothing as she leads you to where he fell. "I didn't know what else to do," she says with worry.
Etrigan has collapsed on his side, breathing shallowly, hooves brought up to his chest. His entire body has been drained of its usual brown, becoming entirely pitch black, save for his clothing. Even his antlers are black as tar. He seems to be in a catatonic state, hyperventilating and twitching unnaturally. You try to think something to him, but the bond seems to have been cut off.
panic ensues as one of the crates fall and the furnace begins to lumber over. attempting to avoid the steam, i take to the air and over the crate, in at attempt to help pull it out of the water!>Bounce
[1d10] Heat resist
[1d10] Recover crateRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
''Later'' Aegis says, maintaining her composure despite the burn
Aegis attempts to join dawn in her efforts
'1d10-1' prestigidation, teleknesisRoll #1 3 - 1 = 2
/ Roll #2 9 - 1 = 8
I barely resist groaning as I see the furnace heading towards us. Pulliny out my flask, I wait until we're moving again, take a swig, and start pushing.
[1d10]ResistRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
[1d10] "Ghh, I really don't like this." the stallion mutters, trying to stave off the heat.
[1d10] PushRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
As Dawn pulls back the nearly lost crate, Hermodur helps put it back on the carpet. He then continues to help push.
[1d10] pooshRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
Thinking quickly and thinking of the crystal Zunden had just went to visit, Zunden summons forth the Union rune and crushes it in her hand, the symbol forming over the failing body of Etrigan and causing the ship to shudder.
>Instant Auto Frozen Light: 12 to Union between the ship's core and Etrigan's mind, giving it a place to escape from the deteriorating body.>also +1 to next roll cause frozen light
Invoking the power of the chariot and drawing a creation rune into wood below her, she focuses all her determination into creating a version of Etrigan's deer body out of the ship crystal's magic alone.
>Chariot: Creation Runecraft
Silver hauls it up with all her strength, aided by a joint effort from Aegis and Dawn. Between the three of you, you manage to haul the dripping, sodden crate back onto the carpet safely. Lily lets out a sigh of relief as you do. "That was lucky. Sorry I can't be more help…">>730689
The wave of steam rolls over you, momentarily blinding you as you finish setting the crate back on. Your vision clears after a minute, but you've suffered some nasty burns to the face.>Silver takes 1 wound>>730689>>730690>>730691>>730693
The heat keeps wearing you down, almost bringing you to your knees.>attacks against you crit on 8+ until the end of this area (9+ for Norv)>>730689>>730690>>730691>>730692>>730693
Another crate almost falls as Rabi's leg acts up again, but Norv manages to save it with a swig of Whale Ale. Together, you manage to push it free, and away from the Incinerator for good. You have to watch your step a bit more carefully from hereon out, but you're out of its range.
As you keep moving, you start to feel the water below you shifting. It seems the Lurker's not going to give up so easily; it hasn't revealed itself yet, but it seems to be shifting about, clearly planning an attack.>roll Perception
taking a blast of steam to the face, i yelp in pain as i land to rub my eyes. panting from the heat and the exertion of flight, i blink to clear the tears as i look around for signs of the lurker!
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 6 = 6
''Master Norvegicus. Light'' Aegis commands
'1d10' perceptionRoll #1 8 = 8
I let out a relieved sigh as we get the carpet free of the incinerator. The relief is shortlived, however, as I hear the water below us. This thing really isn't gonna just let us go, is it? I peek over the edge.
[1d10]PeekingRoll #1 9 = 9
I jump and tense a little at the order, but immediately guide my sun a little nearer to the water, only comfortable doing so because the furnace didn't react the first time. "Right. Sorry," I say, more as a reflex than anything.
Rabi grits his teeth, wishing he'd had time to let his leg heal properly. Or, just hadn't gotten it hurt at all.
Once they've cleared the incinerator's path, he tries to take a look around to see if anything in particular's lurking… [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
Hermodur quickly holds out his sun in the direction of the Lurker. He points the light source at it menacingly.
[1d10+2] to intimidate the Lurker awayRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
Marisol watches with apprehension as you get to work. Even as you invoke runes, you see Etrigan's strength start to fail. It seems the Oneiromancer's bond with him is starting to strengthen, as a result of the entity's sudden surge in power. His cloak and scarf begin to turn black as well, cracking like porcelain and crumbling to dust, revealing the extent of Etrigan's injuries. A scar runs across the elk's neck, revealing where his throat was slit, while his face is littered with scars, pockmarks, and eroded skin, at some points revealing the bone beneath. It seems that he is mute not because of his undead state, but because his throat was destroyed.
You invoke the runes with all the strength you can muster, calling on the power of the Chariot. Marisol looks on in awe as a second Etrigan begins to manifest, foggy and distant at first, but gradually clearer, a perfect, healed replica of the elk, glittering blue and white like a Servitor. The simulacrum stands there blankly, unmoving and unresponsive; then, with a jolt, it comes to life, staggering backwards and looking around in confusion. "GET OUT OF MY MIND!"
As Etrigan in his new form begins to gain his bearings, his body, now black as death itself, becomes inert for a few crucial seconds; then, wordlessly, it rises to its hooves, graceful, almost like a ballet dancer going through the movements. Marisol and Etrigan can only look on in shock and confusion as the black Etrigan stands up.UnexpectedNot unwelcomeThank you
Marisol, instinctively, lunges forward to attack. Etrigan's body twists and transforms eerily, becoming a formless black shape, rocketing towards the nearest window with inhuman speed and vanishing into the night sky.
Aegis nods an follows suit, producing her own sun
As Norv, Aegis and Hermodur hold out suns to the Lurker to scare it off, you see several of its white tendrils twist and curve away from the light, bending around to avoid it while going for those still in the shadows. Fortunately, you all get away quickly enough to warn the rest of them, and its attack falls short.
The Lurker is not completely undeterred, and sends out three rope-thin appendages to attack and ensnare!
[1d10] vs Silver, crits 8+
[1d10] vs Lily, crits 9+
[1d10] vs Rabi, crits 8+
Violet hacks at the tentacle attacking Silver!
Dawn fires a silver blast at the one attacking Rabi!
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic BoltRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
/ Roll #3 1 = 1
/ Roll #4 8 = 8
/ Roll #5 9 + 1 = 10
/ Roll #6 2 + 1 = 3
Hermodur revs up Mjolnir.
leaping back as the tentacles burst from the water, i pull my Shivs and slash at the limb snaking towards Lily!
[1d10] MeleeRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
I dart between Lily and the tentacle, hacking at it with Vi's sword.
Aegis reflects the tentacles aiming for Lily, covering her shield with a thick mass of ice and swiftly parrying
'1d10' earthen strike, iceRoll #1 1 = 1
[1d10]Cheap shot, ImproviseRoll #1 1 = 1
"I zaid begone
Zunden says as she readies to draw the severance rune, but stops as the nega-etrigan bounds out into the night sky. Exasperated, Zunden falls on her butt and drops her staff, weariness washing over her. She looks up to the glittering elk with worry and fatigue.
Rabi lets out a startled whinny and ducks out of the way, before drawing his bow up and aiming. He fires off a blue-tinged 'arrow', hoping that what he went over with Dawn works!
[1d10+2] Astral StrikeRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Mjolnir roars into action as the Lurker commences its desperate assault.>>730706
The limb twists and slaps you to the ground, but not before you manage to sink one shiv into it, drawing pale green ichor. Something about this strikes you as familiar…>Silver takes 5 hits, helpless>roll Insight, instant>>730708
A fourth tendril shoots out and grabs your leg, smacking you against the stone floor before beginning to drag you over the edge. You cling to the edge with all the strength you can muster.>Aegis takes 5 hits, helpless>>730712
You nimbly dodge the tentacle and counter with a quickly drawn spectral arrow. The tendril goes completely limp, slithering into the water as it's knocked into the astral plane. Curiously, you notice the rest of the creature seems to be functioning still. A hivemind, perhaps?>>730705>>730706>>730707>>730708>>730712
As the tentacle grabs Lily, she screams in terror, getting thrown to the floor. You hear a stomach turning crunch
as she falls. It seems she wasn't lying; her leg crumples and folds horribly on itself, leaving her completely helpless. Norv swoops to the rescue, severing the tendril in a single stroke, sending the still squirming appendage soaring through the air and splatting to the damp stone floor.
As Rabi knocks one of the tendrils into the astral plane, Dawn follows up with a powerful blast, reducing the appendage to ash. Violet hacks and slashes at the third one, causing it to retreat momentarily.
As all three tendrils are taken down, a fourth continues to drag Aegis down!
Meanwhile, two more burst out from the filthy waters, hellbent on attacking Hermodur and Violet!
[1d10] vs Hermodur, crits 8+
[1d10] vs Violet, crits 9+
Violet slashes at the tendril with a fierce battle cry!
Dawn focuses before conjuring a small orb of flame and hurling it into the waters below!
[1d10] Fire ElementalistRoll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
/ Roll #3 5 = 5
/ Roll #4 10 = 10
Aegis desperately kicks and squirms, trying to gain footing as she clings to the floor
'1d10'Roll #1 7 = 7
The ghostly form of Etrigan looks around, still confused about what just happened. "…Zunden? …Gods… I can speak… I… …I can speak!"
He marvels at this for a moment with an ecstatic grin. "I… …Wh… what happened? I felt him in my head again, then I blacked out, and then… I found myself in this form. …Did
you do this?"
Smashed into the ground from the heavy tentacle, it's green blood sparks a familiar scene. Though i'm focused on recovering, my mind races to remember what it was..
[1d10] RecoverRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
Rabi winces a little at the sound of Lily's leg crumpling, but leaves it for now- Norv cut her lose, it seems. Rabi turns his bow on the tentacle dragging Aegis under, and fires off a bolt of light!
[1d10+2] [1d10+2] Magic Bolt (Light)>>730713
Rabi takes note of how the tentacle reacts, and figures it'd be good to bring up later.Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9
I want to stay and make sure Lily is okay, but I don't have time. Without stopping to think I grit my teeth, turn on my heels, and lunge at the tentacle attacking Violet, chopping at it with the blade.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"He waz taking over your body when I Marizol brought me here.. I-I.. didn't zhink, I only acted. I zhought of ze ztrongezt zhing here zhat I could join your mind wizh zo zhat ze Oneiromanzer couldn't take zhat too."
Her tail flicks reflexively and she holds it in her lap, remaining content to sit on the floor as she doesn't have the wherewithal to pull herself up at the moment.
"I'm zorry… if I waz zhinking right I zhould've tried to zever him from your body and prevent him from taking it, not giving you zhiz one and letting him ezcape. Fatez know I hate dealing wizh him, I feel zo drained."
"Shit," Hermodur mutters as he remembers Lily's condition. But, there's no time to lament as a tentacle comes for him. He holds up his shield.
>Bulwark, Instant Automatic
He then swipes at both tendrils at once with his hammer. It's not all that great since… it's a hammer. But, it's the weapon he has!
>Hot Irons on both remaining tendrils>[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
/ Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7
You manage to kick the tendril loose, slamming it against the wall with your leg to loosen its grip before hauling yourself back over and rolling up onto all fours. Your leg is drained of all colour, and covered in purple markings, but you are otherwise fine.>>730716
You recall the grotesque regenerating creature that guarded the moat of the Timeless Castle, a pale, fire-hating entity comprised of many interlinked hands. It bled green, much like Lurkers. A link between them is more than likely, and as you recall from Carnifex's notes, its fluids are useful in the creation of healing potions.
You manage to right yourself, battered and bruised but otherwise okay.>>730717
As Aegis manages to pull free of it, you fire off a glowing yellow bolt, which bursts in a brilliant light display on impact with the tendril. You hear the Lurker screaming somewhere in the distance as the tentacle recoils, sizzling and burning in the sudden light, crumbling to dust in mere seconds.>>730718
The tentacle twists around and backhands you as you approach, slapping you across the face. You stumble backwards and fall flat on your back.>>730720
As Rabi downs one, you focus your blow on the other, deflecting the tendril's grasp with your shield and countering with a powerful downward smash, shattering the stone itself as you crush the tentacle with a single blow, severing it. The remains of it twitch horribly, gushing green fluid every which way like an out of control hose before retreating back into the water.>>730720>>730718>>730717>>730716>>730714
Violet's frantic blows prove futile as she is dragged off her hooves and into the water. Dawn's fireball rings true, striking some unseen body beneath the surface. All remaining tendrils seem to shrink and retract as the conflagration impacts on its surface, and the Lurker retreats with a high pitched whistling screech.
Violet tries to pull herself out of the canal and back up top, clutching her sword like a lifeline.
Dawn tries to help Lily up and onto the crates with telekinesis, who's groaning and heaving in pain from her multiple broken bones.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
He looks down at his new body, inspecting his iridescent azure form with wonder. "There's nothing to apologize for. This is like nothing I've experienced in a long time. Thank you. Sincerely. You saved my life, and gave me back my voice. I owe you more than you can possibly imagine."
"It's good to finally meet you properly," says Marisol with a friendly smile. "Likewise. I didn't think I'd ever be able to speak again. I'm looking forward to working with everyone else more closely from now on."
He looks back to you. "Zunden. If there's ever anything I can do for you, I'll do it. You've given me everything and more."
Zunden rubs her head, intent on finding some wrongdoing in her actions. "Well ze Oneiromanzer now haz a corporeal form zhankz to my hazte, I don't know what problemz zhat will cauze." She pauses, blinking and mumbling to herself, "You'd zhink zhat'd be a weaknezz more zhan anyzhing. Eazier to bind to a locazion…"
She looks back over to Etrigan, "Anywayz… I'm juzt glad I waz able to zave your mind and… zhape. Zuppoze ze body had long ago died anywayz. I ztill don't know what exzactly I've done to you zhough. Az far az I'm aware you're made up of ze zame zhingz ze Zervitorz are made of, but what zhat meanz for your ability to interact wizh ze rezt of ze world I do not know."
>>730854"All I know is he's out of my head. It doesn't seem like he's bound to his own realm anymore. Doubtless he'll try to extend his influence to others he encounters…"
"This is bad," Marisol chimes in, folding her arms. "Grosvenor always spoke of him like he was trapped in dreams. With him freed from there, gods only know what could happen.""Even after all this time, it's strange to think that I've died before,"
Etrigan muses. At the mention of his unknown capabilities, he starts putting it to the test. He seems to be able to physically interact with things still. He seems to get an inkling of something else he can try. "Let me risk… Perhaps…"
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
He closes his eyes and concentrates. For a moment, nothing happens; then, you both jump as the ship lurches violently, a door somewhere slamming shut and the lights flickering. He opens his eyes and steps back. "…Sorry. I thought I could try something. It looks like we have the same bond with the ship. That I can manipulate it, like you can. It'll take some time to get used to, I imagine. …What an odd feeling. I don't know how you do it."
"Well ze bond you have iz already clearly different, I waz pazzing in and out of conzciouznezz. Fatez, zhere'z anozher zhought- zhough, I zuppoze again you're already uzed to not needing zuztinanze or rezt. I only worry zhat while ze Oneiromanzer runz free.." She looks out the window, "I may have… trapped you here."
Zunden emits a bassy rumble trying to think over the results of everything that had just happened in the last 30 minutes.
"Well ze Oneiromanzer haz and ztill will remain a worry of ourz, at leazt we can azzume he will be occupied wizh hiz new form for ze time being, maybe give uz a breadzh of time to prepare. Az long az all of uz togezher, I'm zure-" Zunden cuts herself off, cursing under her breath. "Ze ozherz, I waz trying to figure out a way to help zhem before ze Oneiromanzer zhowed zhemzelvez. Aggh.. not what I azzumed ze reading would have meant, but Fate iz fickle."
Wordlessly, he starts heading upstairs to the main deck. After a few moments, he rematerializes in front of you, looking confused. "…Oh. …This is it, then. This is all there is."
He takes a few steps away and sits down for a while, trying to process everything.
Etrigan doesn't speak up, overwhelmed by everything that's occurred. Marisol doesn't either for a moment, looking at him with slight concern before voicing her opinion. "We should just wait for a signal from the others, then blow a hole in the wall for them to escape from. Of course, we'd have to get close enough to do so accurately, which means attracting unwanted attention. Hm… Is there something else we could try?…"
Zunden's heart pangs at Etrigan's tone changes from greatful to the same worries the saurian had had. She looks down at the floor, letting out a sigh.
"I… I don't know, I don't want to end up hurting ze ozherz in ze prozezz. I'm not confident wizh my ability to plan out zomezhing great right now… I could attempt to practize runecraft and Return zhem to ze zhip, but I do not know if ze zuppliez zhey would have wizh zhem would come wizh."
Having gone from sitting on the floor to standing, Zunden sits back down on one of the dining benches, frazzled and experiencing a wash of bittersweet remorse. "Ozherwize, what do we have available? Cannonz az iz clear, ze boat itzelf, zome mizcellaneouz artifactz zhat won't do. I've got a bottle zhat when zmazhed releazez an entire zhip. Never known when'z ze time to break zhat zhing out."
She nods and hums. "It doesn't help that we don't have too much at our disposal. The purpose of the mission, I suppose."
She does a bit of a double take. "An entire ship? Where on earth did you find something like that? It might be the time to use it. Or, if we want to do this more subtly, we could try to pry open an entrance somewhere. That'd mean leaving the ship, though… Hm…"
You are dimly aware of Etrigan having left while you talk to Marisol, having adjourned back to the top deck.
"An entire zhip zoundz like far more.. deztruction zhan would be needed. Innozent people live in zhat town too, regardlezz of what we're doing. Ze planz weren't to deztroy ze aqueduct after all."
She nods, "Maybe zhat iz where Return would come in handy zhen.. have zomeone loozen an entranze and zhen zee if I can uze ze rune to zend zhem back to ze zhip."
Zunden gets up and moves a chair seeing if use of the Return rune would move it back to it's position.
[1d10+1] testing ReturnRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
Marisol watches with curiosity as you invoke Return after moving the chair. It seems to work, but not very well; the chair moves a few inches back to where it was before. "Hmm. This could work," she nods, touching her chin. "I suppose it'll have to be me; you need to stay here and, well, Etrigan can't leave. Th-"
She is cut off as Etrigan bustles back down, looking disturbed by something. "Zunden. Marisol. Those mechanical things in the city, they've spotted us,"
he declares urgently. "There was some sort of metal orb floating around the ship when I went up. It flew off back towards the battlements as soon as it noticed me. …They must know we're here. What should we do?"
"I have potionz zhat enhanze one'z ztrengzh for a brief moment of time, you could eazily juzt punch ze brickz out."
Zunden pauses, turning to Etrigan worried. "We.. we're not trezzpazzing here are we? We'd have to make two pazzez over ze aquaduct at leazt, one to let Marizol down and ze ozher to pick zhem up. I do not have ze time or energy to hide ze entire zhip from zight like I had for ze zwarm in ze dezert."
>>730863"I don't know. I think it was just a patrol. They might be back. Probably in greater numbers. Should we move the ship? Or hold our ground and try to invent an excuse for being here? Even if we're not trespassing, they're probably suspicious of us by now."
"We can use this," Marisol points out. "If the ship has their attention, I could slip in while they're distracted and make a path for the others. The only problem is we'd have to find the others first. Do we have a way to get in touch with them down there?"
"We zhould have a few Harbingerz zomewhere around ze zhip. Quiet a few of uz have zhem, hopefully zomeone left one behind. I wonder.., could likely have zhem do all ze work inztead. Zhey do more zhan juzt zend mezzagez."
Zunden goes searching around the ship with her shipvision. [1d10]
"If I find one, we could hide inztead of pazzing twize."Roll #1 2 = 2
Etrigan wordlessly leaves to go find one. Marisol nods and does the same. "I used to have one myself. Maybe it's still around…"
[2d10]Roll #1 5, 6 = 11
After a bit of searching, they return to you with three Harbingers: an ebony raven (Rabi's), a glass stoat (Marisol's), and a stone cat (Aegis'). "Take your pick," Marisol shrugs as she sets them up neatly on the table like collectable figurines.
"Ze question iz now if zhey can imbibe ze ztrengzh potionz like living creaturez." She pauses, "Well, perhapz I could bond zhem togezher anywayz uzing Union or ze like, infuze zhem wizh ztrengzh. If a Harbinger can find a way to zhe individual zhey are delivering to, zhen zurely zhey could be told to ztrike ze wall between zhem and ze target inztead of going ze route zhat would get zhem zhere zafely normally."
Zunden's taps her claws against her staff, starting to brainstorm. "In fact, zinze we have multiple, we could zimply have ze ozher onez punching holez in plazez ze party izn't
, juzt to run diztraction. No harm would come to any of ze crew, and zinze zhey would revert to a zmall object afterwardz it would azzumedly be much eazier to invoke Return on zhem zhan zay, yourzelf Marizol."
Marisol tilts her head. "I've only ever heard of them being used for messages and the like. It's worth a try commanding them to do otherwise, but if not, perhaps your runic abilities could imbue them with something else to that end. Severance especially is versatile enough to rig as a destructive tool."
"Your grasp of runecraft is remarkable, by the way," she comments. "In my experience, it takes a long time indeed to be able to invoke them even on the basest of planes. I have only seen talent like that once before.""There's still the threat of those mechanical things coming for us,"
Etrigan reminds you. "They already know we're around here somewhere. How long do you think it'll be until they send something here and start asking questions? We need to move the ship. I'd do it myself, but I don't think now is the best time to practice with something I just learned."
Aegis sighs as she manages to get up on her hooves, hopping away from the tentacle that was binding her, but doesnt spare herself a second of a break as she goes to help Lilura, ''We need to splint her wound. Does anyone have something for it?''
finally putting a hoof to what the lurker reminded me of, i'm relieved to see it slink away though missing the chance to drain some of it's blood. standing once again, i make my way to violet to help her out of the water.
"Goodness! Are you alright, Violet?"Roll #1 6 = 6
I groan as I pull myself up from the ground. Everything hurts, but I put that at the back of my mind as I see Violey over the edge. Standing up, I rush over to her. "Vi!" I shout. "Are you okay? I'm sorry, I tried- I thought I had it."
Zunden rubs her temples, ideas falling flat on her mind the more she thinks about them. She nods to Etrigan.
"I'll move the zhip away but ztill in zight of ze aquaduct zhen. I'm faltering in ideaz in order to azzizt ze ozherz. Az I zhink about it, what better would ze Harbingerz be zhan a cannonball. Eizher one would gain attention, might az well be zwift wizh it."
She sighs, moving the ship further away for now.
"A-Ahh, jeez." the stallion says, trotting in place nervously and looking between Lilura and Violet. "D-Do we need to hunker down and rest for a bit? I'd hate for an injury to get worse while we travel." he says, before looking around in his pack for anything resembling a splint.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
[1d10]Helping Violet upRoll #1 2 = 2
''That wont be necessary if we can treat the injury now''>>730721
Aegis turns to the Violet after she manages to get herself up ''Did you see where if there were any medical supplies stashed in the boxes Miss Violet?''
You get a closer look at her injuries. It seems her left leg is the only fracture she's suffered, thankfully. It looks horrific, but it could be much worse. She's struggling to breathe, flopping onto her back and groaning softly as she stares up at the dank stone ceiling. Dawn looks her over with a worried frown. "Hm… I have never been adept at healing magic, but I do know the basics of it. If I may…"
She doesn't hesitate to accept your help. With your combined strength, Violet manages to get back up, soaked to the bone, shivering and shaking. She gives you a little nod of thanks, though it might just be her teeth chattering. "S-s-so… c-cold…">>731147
She looks absolutely miserable as she flops back out onto solid ground like a seal coming out of the ocean, trembling from the piercing cold of the canal's tar-black waters. "I'm f-f-fine," she says, trying but failing miserably at forcing a smile. She goes to hug you, but then pulls back, still utterly sodden.>>731149>>731150
You manage to find some smallish wooden beams amidst the tent-making equipment, more or less the right dimensions for treating a broken leg, with a bit of ingenuity.>>731152
Violet is too cold to be able to respond, but Lilura forces herself to, feebly pointing at one of the crates. "In there," she manages to bluster before doubling over in pain.>>731146>>731147>>731145>>731149>>730720
You see that Violet now has a pale, whip-like mark across her belly where the Lurker attacked her. Like with Silver's discolored hoof, it's unlikely this will ever fade back. Another scar for the collection.
Up ahead, the canals seem to begin to slope upwards, and the running water grows slightly louder. You must be nearing the exit leading upwards to the aqueduct. You can see two paths that seem to lead in that direction:
A flight of narrow, corkscrew stairs behind a rotting wooden door appears to steer you to the aqueduct. It culminates in a door. Rabi and Aegis would remember having taken this path earlier, which was open before. The aforementioned door is now locked, but appears flimsy. It could be picked, or broken down, making for a more direct route; however, it will be significantly easier for potential enemies to hear you coming.
There are some narrow walkways leading upwards as well, adjacent to a cascade from the aqueduct above. The roaring sound of it is nigh deafening, making it difficult to perceive what may be lurking ahead, as well as making footing here uneven; on the other hand, nothing will be able to see or hear you coming either if you take this more precarious route.
Behind you, where the Incinerator still trundles, you can see some vague silhouettes in the distance. The pointed helmets give away their identities. It seems a few Keepers overheard the commotion, and are coming to investigate shortly. It doesn't seem like they can see you just yet.Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2
Hermodur starts pushing the crates up the narrow walkway. [1d10] to poooshRoll #1 9 = 9
You pilot the ship slightly further away from the city, so as to avoid any more attention from the local gendarmerie. Unluckily, doing so puts you out of cannon range.
Marisol thinks. "Maybe we should send a Harbinger now?" she suggests. "Just to see where they are, and try to organize a rendezvous. The last thing we want is to accidentally blow them to kingdom come."
Etrigan doesn't seem to approve. "What if they intercept the message? We could be putting them in danger. If we do this, we'd have to be careful to send it undetected. Though I suppose it would be difficult to spot, depending on the Harbinger. …We do need to communicate with them a bit more if we're going to do this, though."
Marisol thinks. "I can avoid being seen fairly easily. Maybe I could go instead. …Some rune magic could even allow you to keep track of my whereabouts, or a Harbinger's. Couldn't it?" She seems to doubt her own ideas a little.
"Here, lemme try this-" he says, fishing out some of his tent supplies and passing them over. "Maybe you can whip something up out of this?"
''There is no time for this Master Dawn'' Aegis motions behind the group, to the shadows of the Keepers in the distance before looking on foward>>731154
''What are you doing Master Hermodur? We have not decided-'' Aegis stops herself and follows along ''Fine then, but lets hurry''
Approaching the path ahead, i eye the door with interest before spying the coned helms of the keepers in pursuit. As Hermodur pushes the cart up the ramp, i follow suit behind him.>>731154
"Ah, excellent idea, Hermodur! We're likely to slip away from the keepers this way, provided we keep a brisk pace."
You poosh leetle kart onwards without much effort on your part. Where others would struggle with the weight of it, a lifetime of heavy lifting has made it an easy task for you.
for the options ahead.
"A-Ah, shoot. Well, in that case just load her on my back- I'll carry her, and when we're somewhere safe we can fix her a splint."
''No, she'll be unstable and shake too much on your back, it'll likely make the injuries worse''
"Almost there," Hermodur grunts as he continues to push.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
as the slope increases, i move to the side to help push it along with Hermodur.
[1d10] pushRoll #1 8 = 8
"Ah, thiz iz where I can uze rune magic wizh more truzt in my abilitiez. I could zever a harbinger from ze zight until it returnz to it'z ztatue form. It removez ze rizk of having zomeone living being accozted, and unlike you or me can fly over obzticlez zo it doezn't phyzically get interzepted."
Zunden looks to Rabi's raven statue, forming a Severance orb for future use.
[1d10+1] Severance (Frozen)
"Honeztly, ze ozherz could juzt uze zome of zheir whale ale to open ze wall wizhout making ze alarming noize of ze cannon. All zhat iz required iz uz moving ze zhip up to greet zhem."Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11
I throw my arms around her, septic water be damned. "Almost outta here," I assure her.
I follow along with the others, trying to help push the supplies up the walkway.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
"W-Well, then we have to do something! Are you sure we don't have enough time to give her a splint?"
''I rather we do not take that risk. If we stop further ahead where the falls will muffle our sound it'll be much safer to splint her''
[1d10] Ack!Roll #1 10 = 10
"I really think we should at least keep the bone stable. That'll really mess things up if you don't."
'1d10' I'm helping>>731169
''As long as you can do it without taking too much time''Roll #1 2 = 2
Dawn doesn't manage to heal much of anything, giving a tiny grunt of frustration. "Oh well. I suppose you're right. …Rest assured," she says to Lilura, "our friend Zunden will be able to fix this in a heartbeat. Not much further, from the sound of things. Stay strong." She doesn't get much more than a feeble whimper from Lilura as a response.>>731165
She gives a weak nod, unable to resist returning the hug before breaking away. She looks down at her sopping form before taking a few steps back and shaking like a wet dog. It's not much better, but it's something.>>731169>>731166>>731167
"Y-yeah, R-R-R-Rabi's right," says Violet, still shivering from the surprise bath. "I-if we don't hurry, she m-might not even be able to use that l-l-l-leg anym-more." Lilura wordlessly looks over with a disturbed stare at the news.>>731165>>731162>>731163>>731168>>731170
While pushing on flat ground isn't too much of a hassle, doing so on a slippery, narrow uphill walkway proves a bit more of a challenge. While most of you fare well enough, Hermodur and Aegis slip on the mossy cobblestone path and almost fall into the canal themselves. While they both manage to steady themselves, a stone is pried loose, and begins to fall loudly down the slope with a series of grinds and cracks before falling into the canal with an almighty splash.
There is a pregnant pause before you hear the muffled warbling tones of the Keepers on your tail. A powerful pale yellow floodlight starts piercing through, presumably an Observer investigating. It starts getting closer by the second. Violet curses under her breath. "J-j-just one more push and we're clear… b-but they're not going to give up, are they?…" Lilura wordlessly shakes her head, trembling out of a mixture of agony and abject fear as the Keepers begin to approach. "Maybe we can wait it out somewhere?"
Purdue chimes in, doing his best to be helpful.
Dawn keeps trying to telekinetically push the carpet of supplies, while Violet starts looking around for an escape route to give the Keepers the slip.
[1d10] VioletRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Raising your staff, you conjure a Severance rune with it. The central eye blinks a few times, darting around the room as the four "spokes" whirl idly in random patterns. "Good thinking,"
Etrigan nods in approval. "They'll never see it coming if you do this."
Marisol shifts, almost looking excited to see what happens next. "What now? Will you send it to them to let them know we're waiting?"
"Just keep pushing," Hermodur whispers.
[1d10] to push cart!Roll #1 1 = 1
as the floodlight begins to illuminate the area, i work with the others to move the cart further up the path!
[1d10] Push!Roll #1 2 = 2
I pull my coat off and drape it around Violet before getting back to pushing.
I groan as I hear the keepers. "We have to be close.">>731170
"I never said I had any experience. Just that someone should do it."Roll #1 6 = 6
"I'd really like to, but… ghh. Maybe we don't have the time. Let's just push this up the incline, yeah?"
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
''Master Hermodur, you're slipping'' Aegis annouces calmly as ever as she turns around, conjuring a set of orbs of crystal ice>>731175>>731176>>731174
''I will try to delay them, focus on stabilizing the cart''
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 4 = 4
"Zhat zeemz like ze plan yez. Bezt to zend it now in caze zhey need to zend a mezzage back."
Zunden sets the ebony raven upright, looking at it directly, "Return to your owner Rabi wizh ze mezzage "Zhiz iz Zunden, I have imbued zhiz Harbinger wizh a rune to keep it from ze zight from all but it'z zender and rezipient. Ze zhip will come to your pozition ready. If you are not in need of total emergenzy exztraction, I will refrain from uzing ze cannonz az zhat would be whatever guardz zhere are into incredibly alert. You zhould have bottlez of whale ale available to take out ze wall more quietly. Zend back an update.
After the harbinger comes to life, zunden casts the held Severance orb, Severing it from sight from all but it's commanded to be delivered to.
You conjure a single icicle above your head, spinning haphazardly like a broken compass.>>731173>>731174>>731175>>731176
You keep trying to push up the uneven surface, but progress is slow. The light from the Observer flares up unexpectedly, blinding you momentarily. In the sudden confusion, most of you lose your footing, and the carpet begins to tilt uneasily. With a cacophony of clattering wood on stone, the rope binding the crates snaps, and all save one, held tight by Norv, fall into the canal and start drifting back downstream. Lilura goes with them, flailing panickedly against the frothing waters before sinking like a stone into the depths. As for the rest of you (save Norv and Violet), while you manage to avoid falling in, you slip several feet back down, ending up where you were before. You are greeted by the unpleasant sight of four Keepers bearing over you, stiffening as you fall right into their lap. "Intruders. You are in violation of the laws of this city by entering a restricted area. Do not resist. A Rectifier will be summoned to this quadrant shortly."
Two of them produce dart guns tipped with pale green poison and open fire on Dawn and Rabi!
The third marches towards you with a pair of handcuffs, while the other produces a whistle!Roll #1 6, 8 = 14
The crow comes to life as you speak to it, tilting its head slightly and staring at you intently, occasionally preening a black wooden feather. As you finish the message, it lets out a quiet scraw and takes flight. Marisol and Etrigan do a slight double take as it vanishes into thin air for them; to you, it is visible as anything, soaring into the air and gracefully nosediving in the direction of the city walls."And now we play the waiting game,"
Etrigan muses. He starts to pace thoughtfully, still experimenting with his new abilities, moving around furniture at will and opening and closing doors. You feel his pull on the ship taking some sway from your own link, effectively meaning control seems to be shared between you, for now.
There's a bit of a silence as you await news. "Do you think they'll be alright?" Marisol pipes up eventually. You feel that this whole situation seems to bother her a little.
Without hesitation and before the Keepers can finish their sentence, Hermodur jumps into the canal to save Lily and (more importantly) the cargo.
[1d10] to catch upRoll #1 10 = 10
Acting quickly, Aegis conjured a portal as they slid down, trying her hardest to save Lilura but loses sight of her, instead redirecting the portal on the surface of the running water, creating a crystal mirror in between the current so that the boxes fall through it
''Lilura is sinking, someone should dive in after her'' Aegis says, ignoring the Keepers in their faces
'1d10' portal, iceRoll #1 9 = 9
More keepers, more syringes, firing at Rabi! Drawing my shivs, i keep low and rush forward, striking up at the key of the keeper readying the whistle, in an effort to force it out!
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
My heart races as nearly everything we've worked so hard for gets tossed into the drink. I almost go after Lily, but stop as I see H jump. Deciding I want this to be over as quick as possible, I pull my coat off Vi a little, rummage around, and pull out my grenade, and flint and steel. Placing the fuse beteween both, I move to the edge, strike, and pitch it overhanded at the keepers.
[1d10]ImproviseRoll #1 3 = 3
Rabi huffs a little bit as he stumbles while pushing the cart up, and turns to take a look behind them. He notices Norvegicus's grenade start to go a little off-target, and tries firing a bolt of flame at it!
[1d10+2] [1d10+2] Fire BoltRoll #1 1 + 2 = 3
/ Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3
"Zhey-" Zunden pauses, thinking of all the things that could go wrong on their trip, "It iz why we zent ze message. Worzt caze, and no rezponze, we have ze meanz to ziege a zity." Zunden chuckles to herself nervously, realizing how morbid what she just said was.
You leap into the canal, grabbing on to the ledge with one hand and reaching out with Mjolnir in the other, hooking a crate with it and moving it over towards the edge with considerable effort. You feel something tugging at the end, and you have to strain your mechanical hand to not lose your grip on your hammer. A sodden, injured Lily bursts out of the water, gasping for air, desperately clinging to the hammer and trying, albeit fruitlessly, to haul herself up it like a rope, all while still nursing her broken leg.
As you watch, the other three crates are whisked away by Aegis' magic, deposited on the opposite walkway.>>731182
You think with portals and create a silver door in the middle of the river, opening the other end on the rightmost side. All but one of the crates go through, along with the water, spilling out onto the other side, sodden but safe and sound.>>731183
You lunge at the Keeper, but it scampers away, taking a warning swing at you. "Your aggression will only make your verdict more dire,"
it warns as it raises the whistle to where the mouth would be…>>731184
You light the makeshift grenade as Violet wordlessly starts stalking off to try and flank the Keepers. As the fuse begins to burn down, you lob it in their direction. It hits a loose slab of stone in the ceiling, however, and bounces right at your feet. You manage to kick it away a little…>>731185
You feel an intense burning sensation shoot up your left side as the dart hits you, spreading poison through your veins.>Rabi takes 3 hits>Poison Dart: -1 hit per round for 3 rounds or until helpless
You nock the burning arrow and let loose. Your aim is true…>>731182>>731181>>731183>>731184>>731185
You hear a loud, piercing whistle from the Keeper; instants later, the world seems to unravel around you as there is a sudden deafening, fiery explosion, engulfing the upward slope, sundering the stone surroundings like they're paper. Norv, Violet, Rabi and Aegis are thrown off their feet and against a wall, grievously injured, caked in blood, dust and grime. They can barely move, Violet least of all. Seems like she's worse off than the rest of them.>Norv, Rabi and Aegis take 3 wounds
Down below, the Keepers seem to have been crushed by a collapsed ceiling from the explosion; however, the rest of you are not faring well. Hermodur sees the canal broken, leaving the water to flow wherever it pleases. He only has a split second to brace himself before he is slammed by the full force of the current, hurled downstream to who knows where. Lilura clings to him with an iron grip, terrified out of her skull.>Hermodur loses 1 wound>roll to get to safety
Silver and Dawn are relatively safe, but have their own problems to deal with. The ceiling has fallen around them, burying them alive. Silver can't see anything, and can barely move under the stone prison that has formed around them. Dawn struggles in vain, trying and failing not to panic. "Hello?" she calls out fearfully. "Can anyone hear us? We're trapped… Help… HELP!!"
There's no sign of the cargo. Presumably, it's buried somewhere under everything.
"That's… uncharacteristically horrible," Marisol remarks. Etrigan gives a slight smirk, seeming more amused by the comment. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that, then. Harbingers are quick. I'm sure it won't be long until we hear something from th…"
Something catches both of your attentions. Through your omniscient view, both he and you can see something has disturbed the city. Part of the aqueduct seems to have been sundered by an explosion, propelling a cloud of debris into the air. "What new devilry…"
"What is it?" Marisol asks, clearly even more worried now.
My head throbs, searing pain shoots through my whole body, and my mind is in a daze. Did it- did it work? Shrill ringing drowns out all other noise. I blink, but only see red through my stinging eyes. Lifting one of my arms, I weakly wipe away some of the blood. Things are still blurry, but I can barely make out everyone around me. Weakly, I try to sit up.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
When the explosion happens, Hermodur was already in the process of pulling the cargo and Lily toward him. When the canal collapses, he thinks quickly and lets go of the wall. He moves Mjolnir so as to let go of the cargo and pull Lily to him. In the next instant, he grabs Lily with his good arm, spins around, puts Mjolnir on his back with his robotic hand, then lets the current take him. But, he takes care to go sideways with Lily on his upstream side (so he takes the brunt of collisions).
In the next instant, he reaches for the cargo with his robotic hand and sinks the metalic claws into the wood. He aims both to keep the cargo as a sort of cushion to keep himself steady as they go down stream and to try to actually keep some of the cargo.
[1d10] to save everything!Roll #1 9 = 9
my hearing blown out by the explosion, i wait in darkness for the ringing to end before hearing dawn struggle nearby. trapped under debris, i try to struggle out!
"Wh-what happened? is everypony okay?! Rabi! Hermodur, Norvy!" i call out, unsure if anyone can hear me beneath the rubbleRoll #1 4 = 4
Zunden pales, "No ozher zhing it could be but zhem. Quickly, I'll bring ze zhip clozer- I'm going to invoke Zeverance on a cannonball zo it can't be zeen and zhen fire it at zomewhere unpopulated in ze zity. Ozherwize whatever juzt happened zhere will alert every guard zhat populatez ze locale."
Zunden lurches the ship forward, summoning a Servitor to fetch her a cannon ball as she prepares a Severance orb.
>+1 from last orb use [1d10+2] Severance (Frozen)Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
As my vision slowly returns I scramble over to Violet. "Vi!" I scream. "Vi, are you okay?" My chest heaves as I notice just how bad of shape she's in.>>731191
"Yeah," I yell down to her. "Seems like everyone is alright here! I haven't heard anything from H or Lily yet! I blew the keepers up!"
Aegis spits some blood and ignores her deafness, trying to steady her mind and get back up on her hooves
She starts to help unburying Silver and Dawn from the rubbles>>731185
''Master Rabi'' Aegis calls out, a hint of weakess in her usual tone ''The water eaters''
'1d10' rubbleRoll #1 5 = 5
Rabi lets out a pained cough as he struggles back to his hooves, trying to get his head cleared enough to do anything more than groan.>>731191>>731187
"S-Silver? Dawn?" he says, staggering over to the rubble he heard their voice come from to try and unearth them.
[1d10+1] (+1 from Frozen Light)Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11
"Rabi, you're alright!" i call back, overjoyed. "We're further in here, i believe we aren't too injured but we're caught under this rubble!"
"A-Alright is, eh… not the right word. I-I'm so sorry for all of this, I don't know what I was thinking."
"No," I call down. "It worked. That's what matters. I don't think they got a chance to call for backup either, but the explosion might have drawn some attention. We gotta get out of here. There's no way we're not almost there. We're right at the aquaduck."
It takes you a few attempts, but you manage to struggle to your feet, reeling as you stand and take in the full extent of the devastation. What was once little more than a rank undercity is now a war zone, piles of debris splashed with blood, acrid smoke mixed with dust enveloping the area in colorless, impermeable smog.>>731190
With Lily clinging to your back like some sort of primate, you manage to grapple on to the crate and use the weight of both of you to steer it downstream. This seems to be the only box that got swept away; the rest aren't anywhere to be seen just yet. Luckily, the carpet drifts by, and Lily strains to grab it herself.
You spot a few places you could run the crate aground and try to retrace your footsteps:
There is a set of stairs in a chamber on the right that leads towards the water, and up to another walkway.
The explosion has knocked a stone slab loose from the ceiling on your left, making a sort of ramp to ground level.
A broken railing leads to a flight of corkscrew stairs off to the left side, upwards to parts unknown.>>731191
You keep struggling, loosening some of the rocks. Unfortunately, this has the side effect of bringing the ceiling slightly lower, threatening to crush you both. "What's happening?!" Dawn cries in a panic. "I can't see… I can't see…" She involuntarily fires off several blasts and sparks of magic in a fit of fear.
You hear Rabi and Aegis scraping away at the rubble above, followed by the sound of clockwork footsteps. >>731193Violet is skewered through with a stone spike, impaling her to a block of wood. She is alive, but only barely, her eyes glassy and unfocused, her breathing ragged and labored. With every breath she tries to take, blood bubbles up out of her mouth, her chest rent to gore by the cruel spear. Her eyes dart around wildly before focusing on you. She gives a small, weak little smile, showing several broken teeth. "Hey…">>731194>>731195
Rabi heals his wounds as you both start digging away at the rubble, but the slabs are too large and too heavy to move on your own. You do a good job clearing the smaller ones, though, and between the two of you, you manage to pry loose some remarkably heavy stone blocks.
The sound of ticking clockwork in the mist and heavy, trudging footsteps draws your attention. A light flashes through the dust clouds nearby.>roll Perception>>731192
Marisol frowns and takes her leave, heading off to fetch her effects and get ready for a fight, just in case.
You conjure another Severance orb as Etrigan helps you as best he can to steer the ship closer. In your ubiquitous vision, you see several pinpoints of light starting to congregate in the area of the explosion.
A Servitor appears, floating up from the magazine, effortlessly hauling a cannonball. It bows its head obediently as it holds up it up to you as if it were made of feathers.Roll #1 5, 10, 9, 9, 8 = 41
Aegis retrieves her sun and heals herself while summoning more homing magic as she watches the surroundings
'1d10' homing magic, ice
'1d10' perception>Usign sunRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
"Dawn, calm down!" i try to reassure her, seeing the ceiling start to press down further. "Your magic is threatening to cause another collapse! Rabi and the others are clearing the rubble, if we hold still they can reach us easier."
my own pleading is currently hiding the concern as the sounds of mechanical steps grows louder.Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
"C-Come on, come on, come on…" the stallion trails off, frantically trying to clear some of the rubble as he looks around.Roll #1 1 = 1
"Hang on!" Hermodur shouts over the sounds of the water. A moment later, he hoists the crate up and places it down hard on the stone slab on the left. He hangs on and hopes that it's steady enough for him to use to climb out.
[1d10] to climb outRoll #1 8 = 8
Zunden imbues the cannon ball with the held Severance rune, using the supernova of the burst sun to reinforce the intention.
[1d10+2] Severance: Cannon Ball from sight (temporary effect so the DC is lower or whatnot)
"Etrigan, are you able to load thiz and fire it at zomezhing in ze zity zhat would catch zheir attention? You are mozt knowledgeable wizh ziegecraft, you know how to get zheir attenzion'z turned away."
She looks to the ethereal deer with a look of pleading, "Dawn iz wizh zhem. Zhe needz you."
>Chariot on EtriganRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
My mouth drops open and I just stare at her for a long moment. Tears fill my eyes as I see just how badly Violet is hurt. I swallow and begin searching the pockets on my coat for something -anything- that could help her. Nothing for proper healing. Why am I such an idiot? I should have bought something for actual healing. Not some stupid tricks. Invisibility dust. A loud horn. Vanishing dust. "You-" I swallow. "You're going to be okay. I'm going to make sure you're okay. Let me just- I can fix-" I swallow again. Finally, I take a deep breath and pull two things out of my pockets. First is the prayer of healing wand in a blind effort to do something
to stabalize her. The second is my harbinger. Leaning in, I whisper to it:"Take this message to Discord. Tell him I want to make a deal."
[1d10]Prayer of HealingRoll #1 2 = 2
You feel some of the pain fade as the sun heals your wounds. Two more icicles appear out of thin air, knife-sharp and ready to be sent out. >>731201
You are hit by a few stray bolts as you try to get her to stop.>-1 hit
The blasts seem to have cleared out some of the rubble, but the ceiling rumbles ominously. As she hears this, combined with your pleading, she starts to calm down, taking a few deep breaths followed by a ragged sigh. "…I'm sorry. I can't stop myself… It just happens…"
You both listen as they continue to dig you out. You can see cracks of light shining through. Once the digging stops, Dawn frowns, and tries digging herself, pushing against the stones blocking the light with telekinesis.
You both stop and look towards the sound of the footsteps. They stop as you do so; then, a towering metal figure trudges through the cloud, flanked by two Keepers and two Observers. It is roughly humanoid, seven feet tall, made entirely of resplendent brass armor, which seems to shimmer unnatural colors as if enchanted with some strange spell. Like the Keepers, it is clockwork, little gears and wheels powering its every subtle, delicate motion. It is oddly lanky in build, almost corpse-like, its head evoking the shape of a skull. Its face is featureless, save for a single glass port that glows an unnatural yellow hue, behind which tiny gears in its brain turn constantly. Emblazoned on its chest is an unfamiliar symbol: a sort of V shape, with two tiny tapering "wings" on the edges. Stored on the automaton's back is an enormous executioner's axe, big enough to cleave a horse in two with a single stroke.
The automaton regards you silently, looking around at the debris without a word, its head jerking left, then right, then center, focusing only on you. A hollow, mechanical voice echoes from somewhere deep in its metal chassis."Query: Which of the Anticitizens is responsible for this disruption of the Order?">>731203
You manage to bring the crate onto the slab and use it as an anchor for hauling yourself out of the water, with Lilura in tow. She looks clammy now, sweating cold bullets, gritting her teeth as she looks around, completely disoriented from the shock and pain.
Looking around, you can see there is a path through a stone archway that follows where the canal used to lead, but is now littered with rubble from the explosion. There is also a set of stairs off to the side which leads roughly in the same direction, and a wooden door which leads off to the side somewhere. Looking deeper into the depths of the undercity, you can see that most places look more or less the same here. It's very easy to get lost.>roll NavigationRoll #1 1 = 1
The cannonball disappears from sight, just as the Harbinger did. It seems like it will hold until you command otherwise."I can and will."
He struggles to hold the invisible cannonball and drifts off to the magazine. He sizes up the view from there, choosing to line up a perfect shot aiming above the spires of Last Hearth, towards the mountain forest. He adjusts the cannon several times, tweaks its position, then lights the fuse.
The cannon roars, and you see the distant trees get struck by an invisible force, splintering and cracking as saplings are torn to pieces like mere twigs. Another cloud of debris begins to rise, reaching out like a hungry tendril towards the gibbous moon above."That should draw their attention. At the very least, they'll be split up investigating both incidents. It won't draw all of them away, but at least it'll make out friend's lives a bit easier.>>731205
You whisper to your oaken wolf statuette. It looks at you solemnly and slinks away into the rubble, disappearing from view.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7uj2QiSvuI
Feebly, Violet reaches out as you look around in a panic for something to help. She touches your cheek gently, looks you in the eyes, and manages a smile.
"Norv… It's okay… I… I'll… I'll find you."
With that, she lies back gently, and is still.
The world seems to fall out from beneath me as I stare at her still body. "No," I mutter. I reach out and gently shake her shoulder, careful not to jostle her too much. "No, Vi, you have to stay awake. We need to get you back to the ship so Z can heal you. Just- just hang on. It'll be fine. You'll be-" Tears fill my eyes as I hold the wand over her again. "You'll be fine. As soon as I can get this to work you should be healed enough to get back with us."
[1d10-4] prayer of healingRoll #1 3 - 4 = -1
Rabi lets out a panicked shout, and hastily fires off a shot at the automaton when he sees it
[1d10+2] Astral Strike, Magic BowRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
Aegis stared, her eyes showing a cool expression that did not reflect on her body language. She was standing ready to act at the moment's notice
Upon seeing Rabi fire off she quickly followed along, replying to the big automaton with a barrage of ice crystals
'1d10' homing magic,ice
'1d10' homing magic, ice
'1d10' homing magic, ice
'2d10' magic bolt, iceRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 2 = 2
/ Roll #4 7, 4 = 11
Zunden fetches something from her bag pulling out the Compass of Want and handing it to the magic spirit deer.
"Etrigan, ensure want you desire is Dawn, line up the cannon slightly off shot preferably at a location that won't collapse the aquaduct. If they're in trouble in there, we need to get them out, even if it's not in an optimal spot for the ship to back up into."
Zunden focuses on creating more rune orbs, not being able to directly help at the moment but preparing spells to help when needed.
[1d10+1] Severance (Frozen)Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7
As the others make an attempt to face whatever caused the commotion, i try to force my way out from under the rubble!
[1d10] excavateRoll #1 6 = 6
Changing to Surge Shot, Lightning Element
Hermodur coughs and hacks once he has pulled himself up onto dry land. He shakes the water from his head, then looks around, breathing heavily. He notices the stairs, then stands up.
He lifts Lily up awkwardly behind him so that she can reposition herself into a piggy-back position. "Come on," he urges her to move. "It's going to hurt a bit, but it's the best we have. You can do it."
Once she's in place on his back, Hermodur bends over to pick up the crate. He then heads toward the stairs.
[1d10] for crate carrying?Roll #1 3 = 3
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 1 = 1
Nothing seems to happen.>>731887>>731891
You hurriedly fire off a devastating blast from the rifle, piercing through the shimmer that surrounds the Rectifier and sending it stumbling backwards. A huge, smoking dent is left in its wake, and the lanky machine teeters unsteadily, looking like it's about to fall over. It twitches unnaturally as it is wracked with lightning from the blast.>>731888
You join in the assault while he's vulnerable, unleashing a volley of icicles and frost magic blasts that are enough to topple it, making it fall backwards and sinking to one knee.>>731890
The rubble begins caving in around you, threatening to crush you under its weight, but you manage to push through and force a slab of stone out of the way. You and Dawn manage to leave just in time as the rubble collapses on itself. Dawn feels around blindly, being bereft of her walking stick, but you can see Rabi and Aegis nearby being menaced by a huge brass automaton flanked by two more Keepers and Observers. See >>731207
for a description of the former. They don't seem to be paying much attention to you, as Rabi and Aegis begin to attack them without asking questions.>>731887>>731888>>731890>>731427"Verdict: Immediate termination. Cauterize and expunge."
The Rectifier gets back up. As it does so, you see the magic shimmer that seems to envelop its chassis changes colors rapidly, briefly flashing bright yellow before settling to a pale bluish white, reflecting Aegis' magic. It runs one hand over the blade, which becomes coated in the same sheen. It swings the axe over onto its shoulder before pointing forward towards you twice, like some sort of soldier issuing orders to his squad. The Observers begin flying up and hovering above you both, illuminating the scene as both Keepers move in, unsheathing shortswords and barking garbled commands. "Cauterize and expunge."
The Rectifier hangs back as the Keepers take the initiative!
[1d10] Attacking Aegis
[1d10] Attacking Rabi>>731889
You make another orb of Severance. Etrigan takes the compass with a wordless nod and starts maneuvering the ship as best he can. However, focusing on both this and the cannon and the compass proves difficult for him. The Fortune
lurches unsteadily as it begins to move into position, honing in on the location. Both you and Marisol struggle to remain standing as it jolts and shifts erratically Furniture rattles and falls, and the ship tilts unsteadily for a moment…
Then, to your surprise, it rights itself. As if some unseen hand had nudged it back into position. Etrigan looks as confused as you as it begins to drift easily in the intended direction, out of both his and your control. "…Is that you doing that?"
he asks, perplexed. >>731892
Lily is in too much pain to give too much of an answer, but continues to cling to your back for dear life as you start carrying her, Mjolnir and the crate up the stairs. The weight is almost unbearable, and for a minute you think you're going to fall, but you manage to regain your footing and keep soldiering on.
A bit further on, on the other side of the canal, you can see the other crates. Mercifully, they seem to be mostly intact, as is the floating carpet; however, you can't see a way across right now. Perhaps if you could make some sort of bridge…
You can hear the sounds of a fight breaking out nearby. You hear Rabi firing his rifle, Aegis casting spells, then the now familiar distorted warble of Keepers. It doesn't sound good for them.Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
The real question is if he has to get across the canal. The ship should have been somewhere around here. He looks around to see any sign of a ship or if there's some other way across. Where exactly the fighting is happening is good too.
[1d10] perception (Hunter's Eye may help)Roll #1 3 = 3
finally forcing the rubble off of myself, i hang back while the keepers are looking away, nudging Dawn out of the line of fire with me
"This way." i whisper to her as i move us away
Roll #1 7 = 7
My eyes widen in horror as even more keepers move in. No. We were done. That was it. Just one last little stretch. My whole body trembles as I look down at Violet. None of this seems real. Tears blur my vision, and my whole body feels numb. I try to move. Slowly I manage to weakly wave the wand again, this time more in the general direction of everyone else.
[1d10]Prayer of Healing:ImproviseRoll #1 1 = 1
Aegis held her ground and counterattacked with a swing from her shield to the Keeper, coating it with a thick layer of icicles to crash on metal
'1d10' Earthen strike, iceRoll #1 2 = 2
"I-I don't think this is working!" he shouts, folding his ears back. "Gah, I shouldn't have tried shooting that grenade!">>731894
Rabi lets out a distressed huff, before digging out the Splinterwood Arrow and wrapping it with magic. If there's ever a time for a trinket like this, it'd be now.
[1d10+2] Splinterwood Arrow (Split, on both Keepers)Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9
[1d10] Observer 1
[1d10] Observer 2Roll #1 7 = 7
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
''This is not the time for shoulds or should nots Master Rabi. Focus on the battle''
[1d10] Redirected to Observer 2Roll #1 2 = 2
"No, I didn't. I can take charge of moving ze zhip if control returnz, but pleaze focuz on ze cannon."
Zunden casts her vision over the ship, making sure there wasn't any tomfoolery aboard as she switches to piloting.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
The fight seems to be coming from just ahead, through a stone archway. You can see silhouettes of them moving about in the adjacent room. No sign of the ship yet. Up on the ceiling, you can see a piece of stone knocked loose, looking like it's going to fall at any moment. If hit properly, it could make a makeshift bridge across, but it's risky.>>731897
Dawn reaches out and fumbles before putting her hoof on your shoulder, clinging to your side glumly as you both sneak off. She stumbles every so often, completely lost in the darkness save for her grip on you. You both avoid being targeted in the conflict, slipping away into the adjacent room.>>731896>>731897
You are in the same room now, and can interact with each other. >>731899
You channel the magic in the wand blindly. It starts to glow and resonate with whatever scraps of innate magical prowess you hold, shooting out multiple beams of golden light towards your allies. You feel it drain your own energy in the process. You couldn't drop it, even if you tried. This goes on for a while, sacrificing your own life force to restore that of your allies.
It stops after a while. You feel your grip loosen, and your strength leaves you from the exertion. You fall to your hands and knees, the wand clattering to the floor. Your hearing begins to fade, and your vision blurs.>Norv is helpless at 0/1>>731904
The Keeper shifts to the side and counters with a slash to your torso, leaving a deep, scarlet gouge across your dress. You falter, but are not downed yet.>Aegis takes 5 hits>>731902
You conjure an identical copy of the arrow and let them loose. Both Keepers are downed by your shots, which ricochet upwards, the copy knocking an Observer off course before fizzling out while the real one hits the wall and clatters to the ground.>>731906>>731907
You feel a presence helping you both to guide the ship. Not a malevolent one. Like a friend reaching out in a time of need. The look from Etrigan suggests he feels it too.>+2 to ship navigation rolls next round!
Etrigan turns his attention back to the cannon, continuing to line it up. The unseen ally helps as well, aiming it perfectly. "Just a little closer,"
Etrigan mutters. "Almost there…"
All of a sudden, each of you in turn are struck by beams of golden radiance, which course through your body, soothing your pains and closing your wounds on the spot. Even Lily's leg begins to miraculously knit, as if it had never been broken. Before long, each of you feel better than ever before, completely reinvigorated.>everyone is healed back to full!>>731902
As you are healed, another odd thing happens: a raven comes, flying right up to you, beginning to deliver a message in a familiar voice:"Zhiz iz Zunden, I have imbued zhiz Harbinger wizh a rune to keep it from ze zight from all but it'z zender and rezipient. Ze zhip will come to your pozition ready. If you are not in need of total emergenzy exztraction, I will refrain from uzing ze cannonz az zhat would be whatever guardz zhere are into incredibly alert. You zhould have bottlez of whale ale available to take out ze wall more quietly. Zend back an update."
It doesn't seem like anyone but you can see it.>>731902>>731901
Both Keepers are knocked to the floor by Rabi's arrow, trying to get back up. The off kilter Observer spins in circles as it tries to right itself.
The second Observer starts hovering right above you and flashing light in your faces.>roll to resist Blinding
The Rectifier, his axe glowing ice blue with Aegis' absorbed magic, swings the weapon in an arc of obliteration!
[1d10+3] Cleave both, Ice ElementalRoll #1 10, 7, 9 = 26
/ Roll #2 10 + 3 = 13
Aegis is about to reply to the Harbinger, but the sight of the Rectifier charging up a familiar aura of magic. Her eyes widen for a moment as she tries to avoid the Observer and the Rectifier's swing
'1d10' resist blinding
'1d10' DOOOOOOOOOODGEERoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Zunden works on moving the ship forward to ready the shot and start approaching to extract the others, not questioning the mysterious boon as there may be far more important things to worry about at the moment.
[1d10+2] navigationRoll #1 8 + 2 = 10
As the Rectifier's back is turned, i take my moment to approach from behind, lining up my shiv with an exposed area to strike!
[1d10] Melee, autocrit (stealth)Roll #1 3 = 3
[1d10] more perceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
Hermodur spots the combat and puts his crate down. He gingerly puts Lily down as well. He spots Silver and says, "Keep them safe. The cargo is here too."
Then, he runs ahead to where the fighting is happening. He draws Mjolnir as he runs and ignites it.
Rabi shakes it out a little and lets out a sigh of relief as he feels his injuries washed away. He's about to say something when the Harbinger appears in front of him, and he lets out a startled whinny.
"O-Oh! Right. To Zunden, I guess. We really need to get out of here fast- bad to worse and worse.">>731909
[1d10] (Resist) "Ack!" the stallion shouts, trying to avoid the blinding light>>731909
Hoping the absorbed magic means it might be a little weaker to the opposite, Rabi flings another bolt of flame
[1d10+2] [1d10+2] Fire BoltRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #3 2 + 2 = 4
I fall to the ground next to Violet and just lie there. She doesn't move. All I can do is let out a quiet sob.
Spotting you, i nod in agreement. "Right. You seem the better suited of us for this fight, i'll leave these keepers to you. My poisons are wholly useless against them, it seems." i add, searching for a means to disengage
Your knife merely glances off its solid metal chassis, leaving little more than a chip. It turns around at the sudden distraction, giving you its full attention, bearing down on you menacingly.>>731911
Aided by both Etrigan and the unseen ally, together you manage to get the ship in position. You spare a glance to the rest of the ship, and though you hadn't noticed it before, something's different.Aurora stirs."Ready,"
Etrigan says grimly, disappearing and reappearing in the magazine next to the cannon, lining it up by hoof. He strikes a match, waiting for your order to open fire.>>731914
Lily, now healed, stays behind with Dawn, as both of them wouldn't be too much use in their state. "If we need to leave," the latter says, "call for me and I'll try and open a Door."
You rev up Mjolnir and head to the fight, finding the party facing off against five foes. See >>731207
The raven scraws and flies off to relay your orders.>>731915>>731910
Rabi's fireball manages to stagger it, leaving a deep scorch mark across its torso, but does little to dissuade its powerful swing. The icy axe blade carves into you both like cutting through cake, leaving a single terrible slash across both of your bellies. The sheer impact of it sends you across the room, hitting the wall. You can feel the ice magic's cold, bitter sting taking its toll on you. To make matters worse, the flash of light leaves you completely disoriented.>Rabi and Aegis take 6 hits, helpless>Blinded: enemies get +2 against you for 2 turns >Ice Elemental: attacks against you crit on 9+ next turn>>731915>>731914>>731912>>731910
As Silver and Hermodur arrive, the Rectifier turns its attention to the one who tried to shank it, hauling the now flaming axe across its shoulder and shooting its free hand out to grab Silver.
The Keepers, now recovered, bear down on Hermodur with swords drawn.
[2d10]Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
/ Roll #2 6, 8 = 14
Rabi lets out a disoriented, confused whinny, and staggers to his hooves>Arabian Endurance
The stallion can't really shake off the blindness, but he does manage to catch it lunging for Silver! He lets out an aggravated shout and reaches for his rifle, hoisting it up and firing off a blindingly-bright bolt of his own!
Surge Shot [1d10+2]Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
Aegis clutches her wounds, eyes squinting as she tries to get her footing and shake of the blindness. Despite all this, she still attempts to maintain good composure
'1d10' recoverRoll #1 3 = 3
seeing my shivs glance off the metal plating and the Rectifier bearing down on me, i take hermodur's plan into action and try to disengage, dodging the hand and ducking out of sight!
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 3 = 3
"Do it, let'z bring zhem home."
Zunden says, eyeing Aurora and continuing to summon orbs in preparation for their siege, the ship lurching towards the entrance Etrigan'll blow open as soon as he fires.
[1d10+1] Balance (Frozen)Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4
Hearing the fight behind me, I clutch Violet tight. "I'll be back," I mumble. "I won't leave you."
I tremble as I struggle to climb back to my feet.
[1d10]-4Roll #1 9 = 9
Hermodur spots the rectifier and aims to rectify his rectum.
>Hunter's Eye on Rectifier
However, before he came make any offensive maneuvers, the two Keepers attack him. He quickly holds up his shield to block their attacks and shrug them aside.
You miss your shot, hitting a wall.>>731920
Between the blow and being completely blind, you can't find the strength to get back up.>>731922
You deftly dodge its grab attempt and fly up to higher ground into the shadows before it can react.>>731923
You grit your teeth and find the strength to stand back up amidst the rubble and ruin.>>731922
Etrigan lights the fuse and steps back. Between the two - no, three of you - you sail smoothly towards where the cannon is pointing.
It roars, rolling backwards from the recoil as the cannonball flies, sparks and smoke trailing in its wake as it sunders the stone wall of the aqueduct. Rubble flies and a cloud of dust forms, revealing an opening. Seems big enough for the ship to fly right in.
The raven returns, carrying Rabi's message: "We really need to get out of here fast- bad to worse and worse." "One last push,"
says Etrigan, bending all his attention on driving the ship ever forward to deliverance.>+3 to Nav rolls this turn>>731924
You raise your shield, batting aside their blows as you keep marching towards the Rectifier. It sees this new challenge and turns to face you head on. "Statement: Prepare for final expulsion verdict, Anticitizen.">>731924>>731923>>731921>>731920>>731919
Another explosion roars, the ground quaking as something impacts the aqueduct. Another cloud of debris begins to seep through, coating all of you in ash, dust and grit. It is difficult to see anything, but you can make out a large form moving on the other side, past the pile of rubble. Your enemies all turn to face this new threat, the Observers surging forward to investigate. The Rectifier's voice rings out, much louder than before, blaring like a siren."Alert. Grievous in lower aqueduct. Several anticitizens engaged. Immunisation requested."
With that, he turns to face Hermodur, meeting his hammer with his burning axe.
[1d10+2] Fire Elemental attack
One of the Keepers starts looking around for Silver.
The other lunges at Rabi with his sword.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
/ Roll #3 4 = 4
"The one who should prepare is you," Hermodur responds to the Rectifier. He takes one last step forward, winds up for the attack, and brings the hammer straight down into the Rectifier.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 2 + 3 = 5
/ Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11
Aegis jumps at the sudden boom and impact, and triest to roll herself to her hooves, coughing up some smoke and squinting hard so it doesnt get in her eyes
'1d10' recoverRoll #1 1 = 1
"Come on now, Aegis. We can't lose anyone else here." he says, nervously trying to help the mare to her hooves.
[1d10] Aid rollRoll #1 2 = 2
[1d10] AaaaaaaaaidRoll #1 6 = 6
Pulling the ship forward to the entrance, Zunden shouts out to Marisol, "Ready yourzelf juzt below top deck! We may have boarderz trying to exztract ze ozherz!"
Looking to make a fancy entrance, Zunden focuses all her determination into severing any sources of sound briefly save individuals she knows the identity of.
>Chariot>(10+1) Severance: sources of sound save the party
Aegis spat dust and coughed, looking up at Rabi for a moment ''No, You dont need to worry… Dont look down on me…'' She mutteredas she tried to muster the strenght to get up with the Stallion's help
'1d10' recovverRoll #1 6 = 6
[1d10+3] nav roll as wellRoll #1 1 + 3 = 4
taking cover from on high after avoiding his grab, i'm nearly thrown from my perch as another explosion rocks the aqueduct!
In the commotion, i double back to grab Dawn and lilura with the cargo!
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 4 = 4
I jump at the sound of the explosion. I watch the battle, looking between each of the keepers and whatever the last one is. I swallow, pull out the whale ail. Crouching down, I hoist Violet over my shoulder and run toward the opening.
[1d10-4]If neededRoll #1 2 - 4 = -2
of metal on metal rings out as the Rectifier blocks your swing with the haft of his axe. Flames fill the air from both of your weapons as you struggle against each other in a display of sheer strength. Eventually, both of you push away and go for another swing. His axe rings true, leaving an agonizing gash down your left collarbone. You power through it and catch the mechanical warrior off guard with a pommel strike, followed by a crushing overhead swing that reduces the Retcifier's weapon haft to splinters, turning it from a poleaxe to a regular battle axe. Your blow also caves in the automaton's chest with a monstrously powerful blow, bending solid brass like it's paper. The Rectifier staggers and falters, making an odd clockwork grinding sound, almost like a wheezing cough.
Struggling to stand, he swipes at you with his off hand in a raking swipe!
Rabi manages to kick away the Keeper and help Aegis stand back up.>>731934
As you book it out of there, one of the Keepers spots you, pointing at you with his sword and starting to make that familiar, awful siren sound, calling for reinforcements.>>731931
Marisol salutes and unsheathes her natural claws, running to the upper deck and keeping a silent vigil.
You raise both hands, invoking the power of the Chariot as you form the Severance rune with a series of complex gestures and movements, like some ancient master of the mystic arts. A colorless wave pulses out from you, radiating from you and sweeping through the ship. In your mind's eye, you see the wave rushing forward, continuing through the breach and outwards until it blankets all of Last Hearth in complete silence for the briefest moment in time.
You can hear them below. Rabi and Aegis struggling to stay standing, the rush of Silver's wings, the clangor of Hermodur's battle, Norv struggling to carry Violet. You don't need to see them to know that whatever's happened in the last few hours has been hell for them.
Together, you, Etrigan and who appears to be Aurora subconsciously aiding you move the ship onward, stopping at the entrance of the breach. The path into the canals slopes downward, leading to where the rest of the party are. As the dust begins to clear, you can see them struggling to stay alive. >>731935
Empowered by the potion, you get a newfound burst of energy, hauling Violet over your shoulders and running towards the breach in a full sprint, over the rubble and through the smoke, practically throwing yourself at the outside. The blast of cool, fresh air rushes over you as you make it outside in one piece.Roll #1 9 = 9
The movement at the breach catches the party's attention. The great form begins to draw ever closer. As the dust begins to settle, a wave of energy passes over you all, and for the briefest moment, everything goes silent.
Then, it comes into view. The Fate's Fortune
, black as midnight, with burgundy sails billowing in the cool night wind, floats towards the breach inexorably, its bow piercing the cloud of dust, promising rescue and safety at last. The world seems to stand still as the ship floats through the rubble, navigating it as if it were the sea itself. On its top deck, Marisol stands, surveying the scene with determination, arms crossed with constant vigilance. Next to her manifests what you take at first to be one of Zunden's Servitors, but you come to realize is Etrigan, given a new, spectral blue form.
The Keepers and Observers start regrouping, congregating around the Rectifier, almost seeming intimidated by this new threat. Marisol and Etrigan don't stand on ceremony, getting to work lowering the rope ladder for you and beckoning rapidly for you to come. In the distance, you start to hear many more sets of footsteps and low, warbling voices, indicating even more Keepers coming, and perhaps even other unknown threats. Two more come into view, wielding rifles, appearing from a side path leading from the upper levels of the city. "Directive: Quarantine. Coagulate. Clamp."
Acting as one, the wardens of the city rush to stop you from escaping. The two Keepers with rifles open fire on Marisol and Norv respectively!
The sword wielding ones rush to attack Rabi and Aegis!
[2d10]Roll #1 10, 9 = 19
/ Roll #2 1, 4 = 5
Rabi ducks out of the way of the sword-wielding keeper and kicks it to the floor as he does so, scrabbling around on the ground to grab his arrow.>Retrieve Arrow: Automatic!
As the others board the ship, Hermodur opens up the front of his hammer. He readies it in a golf-club-position. He swings it as hard as he can and releases a ball of energy, aiming for one of the two Keepers with rifles.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, ranged attack, take the higher rollRoll #1 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9
seeing the ship appear from the explosion's hole, i move quickly to usher Dawn and lilura towards the exit and the ladders onto the ship.
"Quickly now, hop aboard before we're overrun!"
The singular box of supplies i make a valiant effort to haul towards the ship!
[1d10] move!Roll #1 9 = 9
Aegis narrowly dodges the swing from the Keeper coming for her, and rushes her way to the rope ladder
'1d10' runRoll #1 6 = 6
An almost kind of dread comes over me as I see the ship. They really were just right there. All we had to do was get there. One last sip of the whale ale for good measure and I scramble up the rope ladder.
[1d10-4]If neededRoll #1 3 - 4 = -1
Using her held creation orb, Zunden focuses on the stone and debris to form a wall cutting off the path of the adaquct from access by foot, allowing the water to continue to flow but barring off any new arrivals to the scene.>Creation Orb (9) spent>>731949>>731937
Watching Norv struggle up the rope, Zunden uses focuses on scratching a Return rune into the side of the ship where she stands in order to bring Norv onto the ship faster.
[1d10+2] ReturnRoll #1 7 + 2 = 9
You dodge the Keeper and spin around, giving it a powerful buck before retrieving the arrow safely. It stumbles backwards and falls over the edge of the canal into the icy waters below. Something stirs in the waters, a white form shifts hungrily, then the Keeper vanishes, never to be seen again. >>731942
You line up your shot and swing away, releasing an energy orb that blasts the Keeper into next week, sending it hurtling and slamming against the wall.
The Rectifier's blow rings true, gouging your midsection with sharp metal claws, knocking you off balance and to the floor.>Hermodur takes 5 hits, helpless>>731944
Dawn, clinging to Lilura for guidance, starts using telekinesis to help you move the crate along. Struggling to push the heavy box along, you manage to get past the majority of the Keepers, running to the slope. You're almost at the breach now. Just a little further…>>731946
You punch the Keeper and nimbly make your way across the rubble, hopping from slab to crumbling slab and making your way up the steep incline towards the ship. Just a few more yards and you'll be at the ladder.>>731948
You feel a dull pain in your back as one of the bolts hits you, but you grit your teeth and keep running, practically throwing yourself at the rope ladder. As you climb, you almost slip, but the next thing you know, you are on the deck, practically collapsing on the wooden floor with Violet in tow.>Norv takes 4 hits>>731951
You reach out with the orb and clench your fist, crushing it in your palm. The debris rises up and forms a rock solid wall, sealing off the entry the other Keepers came from. It should hold them for a good while.>>731948>>731946>>731944>>731942>>731941>>731951
The riflemen Keepers hit their mark. Marisol throws her hand out to help Norv, but is downed by a shot to the shoulder. She cries out in pain and tries to get back up, Etrigan helping her.
The first rifle wielding Keeper fires a round at Aegis, while the second tries to get back up after being blasted by Hermodur.
The remaining sword Keeper starts chasing after Silver.
The Rectifier's eye is fixed on Hermodur, swinging at his prone form with the axe!
Dawn hangs back, trying to focus her energy on opening a Door to the ship to facilitate escape for Aegis, Rabi and the others.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 7, 9 = 16
/ Roll #2 9, 5 = 14
/ Roll #3 10 = 10
/ Roll #4 6 + 2 = 8
Aegis glances back after she gained enough distance, and began to charge a particularly fierce icicle as she advanced towards the ship. Picking her targetm she fired a sharp icicle towards the rectifier that is bothering Hermodur
'2d10' magic bolt, iceRoll #1 2, 5 = 7
avoiding most of the struggle with the keepers, i continue to usher the pair out towards the breach, pushing the crate along with us.
[1d10] Heave Ho!Roll #1 3 = 3
Rabi huffs a little bit and starts backing towards the portal Dawn created, leveling his rifle and firing a split magic bullet at the two rifle-wielding Keepers.
[1d10+2] Copperhead Rifle (Split)Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
Making invocations of runes and artifacts from afar, Zunden focuses her attention on the Rectifier next, willing it's strike to be modest in damage rather than devastating, invoking the tarot of Temperance. >XIV Temperance>automatic instant, twice per session; When invoked, this card imbues the target with the virtue of Temperance, turning a failed or successful roll into the bare minimum for a success or failure, respectively.
(10 turns to 6)
Kneeling down, Zunden prepares a healing spell, wanting to make sure her allies make it out of the fight alive.>Bask: Healing Bonds
Hermodur quickly rolls back to get up. [1d10] to get upRoll #1 7 = 7
I just lie with Violet while everyone gets out of the fight.
Your icicle strikes the back of the Rectifier's head. If nothing else, it draws his attention; unharmed by the attack, its head turns a full 180 degrees to face you like an owl, and the rest of its body follows suit, marching towards you with murderous intent. Distracted by this for the briefest moment, your leg almost gives way as the rifleman shoots you, trying to hinder your escape.>>731956
As Dawn's Silver Door opens in front of you, you give the crate one last push, ending up on the deck with Marisol, Norv and Etrigan. You narrowly avoid the Keeper catching up with you. Dawn and Lily are right behind you.>>731958
You fire two rapid fire rounds at the riflemen Keepers, shooting one in the head and the other in the chest. Both crumple like the rag dolls they are, twitching and shuddering for an uncomfortably long period of time, like a clockwork toy getting its key unwound in fast forward.>>731959
You reach into your robes, touching the Temperance card, focusing your will on the Rectifier. You think you hear a faint, trickling sound, and the beating of distant wings. As you watch, some unseen force seems to actively stay the machine's hand, slowing its blow from wreaking devastation.>>731961
You roll over, seeing the Rectifier winding up for a terrible blow. Something seems to slow its swing, preventing it from dealing a lethal blow. You still get an axe to the back though, sending another jolt of agony down your body, but you manage to shrug it off and pull yourself back up.>Hermodur takes 1 wound>recovered at 6/3>>731955>>731956>>731958>>731959>>731961>>731964
"Hurry!" Dawn urges as she focuses on keeping the Door open. "I can't hold it for much longer…!"
The Rectifier keeps walking stiffly and inexorably towards Aegis, and by extension, the portal.
The remaining sword Keeper starts bearing down on Rabi, grabbing the windup key on its chest and turning it, as if to give itself a boost of energy.
The wall Zunden raised starts to crumble as something pounds on it from the other side. Like something's trying to break through.
Making the most of her saved runic orbs, Zunden crushes the Severance orb in hoof to cut the Rectifier's access to the portal, just as she had when experimenting with the rune earlier on the table.>Spending Severance Orb, roll of 7
With power stored from resting momentarily and from the supernova of the severance orb, Zunden casts forth three healing orbs to her allies.
[1d10+3] Aegis, Rabi, Hermodur (All Frozen)Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8
Aegis kept her eyes on it as she backed away, reaching for Dawn's portal to leave, charging up an array of crystal blasts on the way
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 9 = 9
Hermodur rushes through the portal to safety. [1d10] if necessaryRoll #1 2 = 2
Rabi attempts to grab a box before heading through, calling out "Just try to get what we can! Most of the Keepers are down, I think!"Roll #1 8 = 8
With Dawn and Lilura secured aboard the ship, i fly back through the portal to look through the rubble for the boxes and our carpet!>bounce
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
You crush the Severance orb and focus on the Rectifier once again, barring him from being able to go any further. The automaton stops dead in his tracks, as if walking against a river's current, struggling to put one foot in front of the other.
You send out orbs of light to your allies, lighting up the gloom as they drift out from your staff.>>731968
A neat little tetragram of crystal orbs spontaneously manifest around you like a halo, ready to fire away at your command.>>731970
You manage to find a path of rubble to the other side, grabbing two of the boxes before heading over towards the portal, popping through just in time before the Keeper can reach you.>>731969
You manage to lope through the portal and onto the ship.>>731973
You zip back out, following Rabi and grabbing the carpet out from under a rock before returning.>>731970>>731969>>731968>>731966>>731973>>731964
As the last of you elude capture and make it through, the ship begins to move, though it is not under Zunden's control. Before more Keepers can show up, the ship starts lifting off, sailing upwards vertically and away from Last Hearth. As it does so, Zunden's barrier starts to give way, and even more Keepers, Observers and even a second Rectifier come into view, taking potshots at you with their crossbows and rifles, but there's little they can do to stop your escape at this point. You've made it to safety, with the majority of your spoils intact. They can do little but stare as you fly off into the night sky.
Marisol grimaces, looking out at the forbidding spires of Last Hearth with disgust. Even as it shrinks in the distance, you can see more Keepers starting to pour out, resembling a swarm of angry insects. "Shan't be missing that dreadful place," she mutters to herself. She turns her attention to Hermodur, doing a bit of a double take as she sees the extent of his injuries. "Y-you're hurt," she says with what seems like genuine worry, before pulling away slightly. "…You should fix that." She herself is bleeding from her shoulder.
Lily looks around wide eyed, having a bit of a limp from her rapidly healed leg. "…It's done… W-we made it. We really made it…!" She starts looking around the ship in elation, seeming overwhelmed by everything that's happened in the last few hours.
Dawn slumps to the ground, getting another nosebleed, worn out from the effort of opening the Door. "It's done," she agrees, with a heavy sigh. "I only hope it was all worth it.""It hasn't been so long, and yet… so much has changed."
The musing comes from a smooth, deep voice unfamiliar to most of you. It takes you a minute to realize it's Etrigan who spoke, manifesting on the deck in his new ghostly ice-blue form. He looks around at the scene with a smile, but it rapidly fades when his attention turns to Norv, seeing him bent over Violet's unmoving form. He worriedly approaches, giving the rest of you an anxious look. Marisol and Dawn are quick to join her, their faces lined with dread.
Zunden hears the faint sound of footsteps coming from somewhere behind her in the ship.
"It'll heal," Hermodur shrugs. "I've had worse. I'm more concerned for you. I saw you get shot."
When everyone turns their attention to the dead/dying Violet, Hermodur picks a spot against a wall and sits down. He remains silent.
A chill runs through my whole body and, finally, I break into heavy, chest heaving sobs.
Rabi sets down the two boxes and lets out a sigh of relief. It quickly fades when he looks back over to Violet and realizes she's most likely gone, and he stays silent.>>731975
Despite the situation, he gives a bit of a surprised wave to Etrigan.
Dragging the carpet back through the portal with Rabi, i breath a sigh of relief as the the city rapidly recedes from sight below.
"We did it! Goodness me, that was quite the-" i begin, cut off by the sight of Violet's condition. Covering my muzzle with a wing, i approach the body in disbelief, unsure how to react.>>731980
With little to say, i trot back from Violet's body to embrace you in shock.
Aegis stood near the deck, still prepared to fight for a couple seconds more until the ship finally took off a good distance away and she saw nothing was giving chase. With a deep sigh, she dismissed her magic and trembled a bit in place, eyes closed for a moment as she stabilized, turning away with her usual demeanor, heading inside with the others
Aegis takes a couple seconds to access the situation, and turns to Lilura, approaching her quietly ''Come'' She whispered simply, guiding the dog to one of the free rooms
Rabi wraps Silver up in his forelegs tightly, and holds her close. It's all he can do right now.
With mulitple people surrounding Violet and Norv, Zunden can only assume that Violet has been seriously wounded. She looks behind her, momentarily distracted from the crowd.
She shakes her head. "I can take care of this myself. It's nothing some alcohol and a pair of tweezers won't fix." She tries to smile, but grimaces at the pain in her shoulder.>>731978
You're vaguely aware of Dawn's hoof on your shoulder, unsure of how else to react. She looks like she's going to say something, but there's not really much to say.>>731980
Etrigan gives you a deep, graceful nod of acknowledgement, a bit of a twinkle in his starry eye. This soon fades as the gravity of the situation begins to sink in.>>731984
Lily doesn't respond for a moment, distracted by her own curiosity. "Hm?" She is happy to comply, and follows you downstairs, where you find Zunden, and…>>731986>>731984
Trembling, pallid, and thin as a rake, Aurora pokes her head around the corner, finally recovered from her coma. She looks like death warmed up, but manages a weak little smile as she sees the two of you. "…I'm back," she says hoarsely before almost collapsing. She only barely manages to grab a chair in time, hauling herself into it, pulling her scarf around herself. "…How long has it been? Wh… where are we?"
Lily feels extremely out of place.
"I'm sure Zunden will want to heal us both," Hermodur laughs half-heartedly. He pulls his pocket sun out and uses it to heal up a bit.
"A… Aurora? You're awake." he says, in disbelief. "We're in Last Hearth… err, we were. Stuff's happened." he says, gesturing to Violet.
Zunden looks to Aurora with a warm expression, going to hug her gently. "It haz been over a week zinze ze dezert, you have been comatoze for a long time. Fatez I'm glad you're okay.."
She looks over her shoulder, back up out to the door, then looking to Aegis,>>731984
"Would you be zo kind az to warm up zome water, tea and hot chocolate for zhoze zhat are returning, it lookz like a few of you have fell in ze water.">>731988
Turning back to Aurora, the saurian looks her in the eyes, "We've had to vizit a zity and zmuggle out zuppliez az we've been lozing rationz at a fazt rate. Many of ze ozherz are injured, zo I need to tend to zhem. Aegiz here will get you a warm drink."
Finally, she turns Lily, offering a short bow and huffing out a breath of exhaustion.
"You muzt be ze one who allowed uz zheze rationz. I am Zunden, Reader and healer. You'll have to pardon ze awkward introduztion, but I need to return upztairz to zee how I can help."
With that, Zunden heads upstairs, inspecting the scene more thoroughly.
Rabi waits patiently- maybe Zunden might have something.
Aegis pauses in place, watching the Batmare movve after so long. If she was surprised, she did not show it
''Aurora…'' Aegis acknowledges her ''You need something to eat, now'' She states>>731994
''Immediatelly'' Aegis nods, and heads to the kitchen ''Please introduce Lilura to a room
With that, Aegis left, out to dismantle the boxes of supplies and to make something good to eat out of them
I sniff and look up at Zunden. "That potion," I say, dragging the back of my paw across my burning eyes. I try my best to hold back the pathetic hickups, but I'm not actually all that sure I'm doing that good of a job. "The one we *hic*
the one we got from Carnifex. It can fix this, can't it? Please tell me it can *hic*
can fix this."
You heal up with Zunden's sun, feeling your aches and pains subside. Marisol follows suit, breathing a soft sigh of relief as her gunshot wound begins to mend. "What happened out there?" she asks softly. "We saw the explosion… Did they set a trap? How did they know?">>731994
She returns the hug weakly. "I… I think I'm okay. Kind of. Just weak is all. …I…" She's about to say something else, but decides now isn't a good time.
She nods as you excuse yourself. "Alright," she mumbles.
Lily goes for a handshake before you bow, awkwardly retracting it. "Yup. That's me. I'm Lilura. Lily's fine though. I was gonna, uh- Oh, sure. Yeah. Upstairs. Alright.">>731994
You find the rest of the group gathered on the upper deck, clustered around Norv. He's cradling Violet in his arms. It doesn't take more than a look to know she's gone.>>731999
She smiles weakly. "Good to see you too."
"Oh it's alright," says Lilura. "I can find one myself. I'll give you guys space. …Hello," she adds to Aurora, seeming unsure of how to finish her sentence before dipping into the lower halls of the ship.
You haul one of the crates into the kitchen and crack it open with ease. You find a cornucopia of food supplies stashed within, all manner of foodstuffs pilfered from who knows where, stacked neatly in small packages and seemingly enchanted to not expire. All types of readymade foods and ingredients are inside, enough to last you at least three months. Some of them are half eaten already, presumably Lilura's own food supply.>assume that whatever you need is on hand now
"Yeah, I'm here," she says gently. She looks exhausted, like she hasn't slept in a week, despite the contrary being the truth. She looks worried as you mention what's happened. "Last Hearth? What made you go there? Is everyone alright?"
"Supplies. We were short on almost everything, and didn't have too many other options. As for the last part, uh… no. W-We lost Vi, and we nearly lost a lot more than that." he says, folding his ears back.
Zunden kneels before Norvegicus and gingerly places a claw on Violet's head if he'll allow, passing healing magic through the inert body to at least give Violet the dignity of not having a gaping hole in her chest.
"Norvegicuz, I-" Her tone softens, emotions starting to well up as she truly starts to process what's happened, "Carnifex'z dezcription zayz it can teach any matter of zpell, but only onze. Let'z-
" Zunden chokes up, "Let'z take her zomewhere elze on ze zhip. N-not here on the deck.
"Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12
"The explosion wasn't from your group?" Hermodur asks, surprised. "I had assumed it was an attempt to help us with cannon fire."
I nod and weakly pull myself to my feet. I try my best to keep the sobs down, but they still end up coming out in furious trembles throughout my body. "I- Where should we take her? And I only have one drink of the whale ale left. I might need help." I can't bring myself to make eye contact, and know that if I look at Vi I'll break down again, so I just awkwardly stare at the ground with tears streaming down my face.
Aegis went through the avaible foodstuffs, and figured that the best, most comfortable and easier thing to make would be a big stew of potatoes and carrots and pumpkin… She also went to use some of that to feed the chickens and check on them while the stew was boiling
'1d10' cooking skillsRoll #1 9 = 9
"I'm afraid the explosion was from us." i explain to Marisol. "We had nearly made it without incident, but the floor was wet enough to have us slip right into the waiting Keepers."
"We made an attempt to deal with them with a well placed explosive, if only for a distraction, but it seems there was more powder in it than expected." i add, laughing weakly. "We're lucky enough to make it as we are, had you not arrived we would be well on our way to joining those keepers patrolling the city."
"We lost…" Her face turns to stone as she processes the news. "Gods… How did… How's Norv?">>732332
You close your eyes and focus your healing magic through her body. The wound begins to stitch, closing and fading away, leaving little more than a scar. It's almost as if she were asleep now.>>732335
"…The other explosion," she clarifies. "Something happened down there. We saw it all the way from here and came as fast as we could.">>732322>>732332
"If it doesn't work," Dawn says quietly, "I may be able to help. I dabbled with resurrection magic at the Collegia Arcana. I… I wanted to use it before, when…" She trails off, clearly thinking about Carabas.>>732336"I can carry her,"
Etrigan offers, manifesting in front of you with a solemn expression.>>732337>>732339
You manage to get a hearty vegetable stew brewing. As it boils, you go and check up on the chickens. They have turned the spare room into a disaster; mattresses have been pecked to shreds, there are feathers everywhere, and the floor and even the walls are stained with their leavings. You see Zunden's pet balaur Ganzen staring at you from across the hall as you open the door, waiting for the prime opportunity to dash in and wreak havoc.>>732341
Marisol looks taut as she learns this. "Oh. …I'm sorry to hear. That sounds… well. Unconscionable." She grimaces a little, still aching from the bullet wound. "If I had my way, I'd be coming up with a plan to wipe those monsters out." She broods for a while, contemplating the current situation.
"So, where do we go from here?" she asks. "We're free of Last Hearth, but there are still other matters to see to. We shouldn't stop moving for anything."
"Give… give us a moment, please, for pity's sake," says Dawn, her voice shaky.
Aegis turned and gave the Balaur her best cold ''Dont even think about it'' stare
She then closed the door, deciding to deal with that later as she went back to finish the stew. She took a bowl and brought it along as she searched for LiluraRoll #1 10 = 10
"You can still plan," Hermodur suggests. "We have to do SOMETHING after we've hidden the egg."
"W-we don't need a crowd.
" Zunden says, looking to everyone surrounding Norvegicus, "I'm not feeble, I can take her if you'll allow me Norv. Let'z.. take her to one of ze empty roomz.
"He's… awful. I don't want to get into the details, but it's even harder on him than you'd figure. It just… gods, it just doesn't feel worth the supplies we got."
I nod. "Thanks. I guess I'll just follow. Probably better-" I choke up. "Better if I don't actually do anything."
"Hmm.. Withick, the village Lilura mentioned is a few days away. Traveling there to drop her off would give us some time to recover from this ordeal."
"After that, well, we still have an egg to deal with.. One thing at a time, of course."
Ganzen tilts his head and scuttles backwards a bit as you give him the death stare, returning it with a reproachful look.
The stew is coming along nicely. You serve yourself some and go to find Lily. She's in one of the empty rooms, sitting on one of the unmade beds, staring out the window at the scenery pensively. She doesn't seem to notice you're there yet.>>732348
"And even before," Marisol points out. "We don't have a destination right now. Nor do we know where we'll hide this thing.""Perhaps we'll find something of use in the supplies,"
Etrigan suggests. "We can't just wander forever. We need a map. A heading.">>732349
Etrigan and Dawn move away respectfully, adjourning to the lower deck, leaving you and Norv to it without another word.>>732350
She nods, looking down in grief. "Violet… Gods, I never thought she'd be the one to go. …I always assumed it'd be me first, you know. Not her. She was always so tough…" She breathes a heavy sigh. "This… this isn't how I thought today was going to go at all," she says with a slight humorless smile.
Etrigan and Dawn move downstairs, joining you both at the table. Aurora does a bit of a double take as she sees the elk's new spectral form. "Etrigan? Is that you?""It is. Things have changed, for better or worse,"
he says with a smile.
Dawn smiles. "Aurora. Good to see you back in the world of the living. How are you feeling?"
"Weak, sore, exhausted, but otherwise alright," she answers, returning the smile. >>732356>>732348
"I know Withick," Marisol chimes in. "I've been there before. It's quite a large town. Somewhat removed from the rest of the land. I think we'll be safe to lay low there for a while and regroup."
"You can say that again." the stallion says, sighing a little bit. His ears perk up when he hears Etrigan's voice, and he turns to greet the elk with a soft smile. "It's good to hear your voice at least, friend. What's happened?"
''I've brought you food'' Aegis says as she approaches Lilura ''Are you allergic to potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, chavy, salt, pepper or milk?''
As everyone adjourns, Zunden carries Violet to one of the few remaining spare rooms, lying her gently on one of the beds.
"I agree with the need to find a place to hide it soon. But, I disagree with the need for a map or a head," Hermodur responds to Etrigen. "Having a place in mind only means that it may end up being a place someone else could have in mind."
"That being said, the supplies could have something useful in that regard."
He goes to the supplies and starts shuffling through them. [1d10] to find useful thing!>>732358
"If Lysander's influence has spread as far as a remote town like that, then we are in trouble regardless. So, Withick sounds like a good next location."Roll #1 10 = 10
"I know not what will happen. Zuch zpellz were legend in my tribe, talez of my anzeztorz, never anyone in my time.
Searching the bag of holding, she procures the bottle, the unknowable colors within shimmering as she uncaps it. She looks to Norvegicus for confirmation.
His expression darkens. "The Oneiromancer took me. I've always had a link with him, and he finally saw fit to push that link to its limit. He possessed me. Stole my body. Turned it into his own vessel. It was through Zunden's quick thinking that I didn't get turned into a soulless meat puppet. I'm part of this place now. But it could be a lot worse."
Aurora pales at the mention of the Oneiromancer. "I… I saw him," she says softly. "In my dreams. Plain as I'm seeing you now. He… he whispered things to me… terrible things… He said we… we were drifting out to sea… And that something blind and terrible could see us. …That we'd be meeting again. Many times. That we'd only be delaying things. We can't… can't stop it." She looks up, her face lined with dread. "The Cuckoo. It's going to hatch. We can't prevent it, no matter what we do."
She jumps a little. "Oh! Thanks. Appreciate it. Um, I don't think I am, no." She cradles the bowl and blows on it for a bit before taking a bite of stew. She flinches at the heat at first, but powers through it. "Mm! It's good. Did you make this?"
''Yes. With the food we brought. If you need anything else please let me know''
I nod. I'm pretty sure I trust her with this more than anyone else.
"Ah, excellent! Once Zunden is ready, we'll begin the trip there.. Though we may need to find a map to get there, unless you've memory of the land enough to navigate."
Hearing hermodur mention checking the supplies, i follow him down into the lower decks. "Perhaps she thought ahead to pack a map. Just a moment, i'll check."
Zunden chugs the magical gin and lime, searching the ensuing magic for some way to bring Violet back to the living without it being full necromancy.
>Consume Magus Gimlet
Within the second crate you find several kegs of beverages, alcoholic and otherwise, along with a plethora of camping supplies; tents, firestarters, miscellaneous tools, spare clothes in all shapes and sizes, even a few basic weapons for self defense. What draws your attention the most, however, is the discovery of an unusually fancy scroll among the miscellaneous supplies, kept in a wooden holder. Popping it open, within you find something odd: the scroll is completely blank, save for a few barely visible markings on its surface. You can sense some faint magical energy coming from it.
Marisol tilts her head in confusion. "Looks like it's meant to be a map. Maybe it'll reveal itself somehow? Hm…" She takes it herself and starts examining it, trying to find whatever secret it holds.
Sifting through the crates to find the map, i eye the scroll with interest!
"Oh my, some sort of magical map, then? Perhaps Zunden could make sense of it? She's quite fond of examining these sort of things."
"Oh, geez… I didn't know we were that close to losing you. So, are you… bound to the ship? Is this temporary?" he asks, more concerned.>>732368
Rabi looks to Aurora and frowns a little, before letting out a nervous whinny. "We'll… w-we'll find a way. We oughta tell Zunden, though."
"Hmm," Hermodur ponders. "Too bad we can't get back to that old wizard to help identify what it does… But, I suppose we DO have Dawn."
Hermodur goes through the clothes to look for something to replace yet another ruined suit. He finds he's less picky than he was before.
You quaff the tonic. Nothing happens at first; then, you are overwhelmed with knowledge. Your head feels light as you are bombarded with a sudden surge of insight into the nature of what you must do.A method to return a deceased to the realm of the living:
A soul, once snuffed, requires sacrifice to be rekindled. An equivalent may die for another to live again: A soul for a soul. This must occur in the presence of the deceased subject for them to be returned.
The offering of a soul can be avoided. One with whom the deceased shares a close bond must offer part of themselves instead, giving a piece of their own soul to restore life. This may only come to pass if the deceased's soul has been ensnared, either by a phylactery or some other spell.
On either of these offerings must be engraved the symbol of Severance, while the subject must be carved the symbol of Return, both powdered with antimony.
What are you playing at, Zunden?
The overwhelming sensation fades, and you find yourself flat on your back on the floor. Your body aches, and your head is beating like a drum.>>732371
As Zunden takes the potion, she swoons and hits the floor like a sack of bricks after a few moments. It seems to have had a powerful effect on her.
"It's really good! Thanks! I think I'll be alright for now. Just… it's weird to think that I'm probably never going to see Last Hearth again. I've been there for 6 years. Never thought I'd leave. …Thanks," she says again. "For everything. I owe you so much."
My ears fold back and I step forward. "Hey, Z, you alright? Did it work?"
"Dawn's good at this sort of thing as well, isn't she?" Marisol points out. "I can't make head or tail of it myself.">>732380
You go through the clothes, finding them to be mostly unassuming. Nothing formal, unfortunately, more practical than anything else. Mostly shirts and coats in dark hues. They must've been Lily's brother's.
At the bottom of the crate, you find some rather interesting materials: rope, a grappling hook, some wheels and cogs, springs, and other such mechanical components. It seems that they could be fitted to upgrade your prosthetic hand, if taken to a good craftsman.
''You've already repaid what you owe us. Think nothing of it'' Aegis says, emotionless ''Be as comfortable as you'd like'' she nods and closes the door>>732377>>732378>>732380
''Dinner's ready'' Aegis mentions as she passes by everyone, making her way to the kitchen to get herself two bowls of the stuff>>732385>>732373
There is a faint knocking on the door before it opens slightly, and Aegis Pale blue eye peeks through ''May I come in?''
>>732378"I don't know. All I know is that for now, I can't leave. But it's not all bad. I can control the ship, like Zunden does. I suppose in a way, I am the ship."
"I was going to tell her," says Aurora, "but… she has enough on her plate right now. I don't really want to be a bother."
"Right then, i'll be there momentarily, Aegis." i reply, watching the stoic pony pass by.>>732387
"True, Dawn may know more as well. It seems dinner is ready, perhaps we can divine the nature of it over some food?"
Making sure we take the scroll, i gesture for the others to follow as i make my way to the dining room.
Hermodur removes his tattered suit and replaces it with a coat. He doesn't button/zip it up or put a shirt on underneath. As a result, his chest is left exposed, a long with his muscles and many scars. He nods in satisfaction at the intimidating appearance this gives him. He leaves his pants on, they've seen better days, but they aren't nearly as ruined.
He takes the mechanical components with him.>>732389
"Oh, thanks you Aegis," Hermodur says politely as he follows her to dinner. Or breakfast? At this point, it's so late it's hard to say.
Zunden pulls herself up, rubbing her head. She looks disoriented and even more exhausted than usual, "I- yez, zhere'z tw-
" Her voice catches, and she rubs her head trying to do away with the headache, "Zhere iz a way, but it will require enznaring Violet'z zoul to an object zomehow. I have, az I zhink, juzt done zuch to Etrigan, but I know not where ze zoul goez onze one pazzez. I will begin preparing runez eizher way at onze.
She looks at Norv directly, though her eyes are somewhat glassy, "Do you have ze object zhat onze contained ze alicorn queen'z zpirit? I wizh to zee if it haz any magic left lingering, in order to make zhiz eazier.
I perk up just a little as she tells me there's a way. "Yeah, just-" I quickly stumble out of the room and into our room to grab the bottle. Without even briefly stopping, I immediately head back. "Here. It's right here."
[1d10-4]Roll #1 4 - 4 = 0
"H-Huh? Oh. Right, uh… Aurora, you must be hungry. Let's go get something to eat, yeah?">>732390
"That's fair. She'll need to know eventually, though…" he says, sighing a little bit. He looks to Etrigan, and frowns. "Maybe… hrm. Maybe we can make a new sorta body for you, or something? Just in case we have to bail on the ship."
You dip in and out of your room without noticing anything out of the ordinary.
"Thanks. If there's anything I can do for you, just let me know as well." She starts making herself a bit more comfortable.>>732391
Marisol nods. "Good idea.">>732391>>732393>>732401
You come together in the dining room, joined by Etrigan, Dawn, Marisol and - to the surprise of a few of you - Aurora. She looks pale and sickly, but in good spirits. She does a bit of a double take as she sees Hermodur back with the crew. "Oh. You're back. Hello again," she says softly. She nods a greeting to Silver before looking at Marisol with a bit of confusion. "Sorry, I don't think we've met. I'm Aurora."
"Marisol. Marisol Cerwyn. I'm somewhat of a new arrival here myself."
She fetches one of the kegs, tapping it and pouring herself a pewter tankard of the stuff, along with one for whoever else wants some. Etrigan, not being able to eat or drink, busies himself with serving plates of steaming hot vegetable stew for you all.
Aurora takes a tankard of ale with muttered thanks. Sitting at the head of the table, she raises it in a toast, but can't find any words for the somewhat dour mood.
"I heard you weren't doing well," Hermodur says in a concerned tone to Aurora. "I'm happy to see you're well enough to come eat with us."
Zunden inspects the jar in question, seeing if it ever had an magical significance to begin with.
>Antiquarian [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Perking up at the sight of a hot meal, i trot over to an empty seat, patting an adjacent spot with a wing for Rabi.
"This looks lovely! Nothing quite like a hot meal to lift the spirits." i add, taking a moment to grab a drink from the keg.
"And Aurora, i'm quite glad to see you're finally on the mend. Dislike me as you may, i was still concerned when you were injured."
Rabi takes a seat with the others and happily takes a helping of food, but doesn't have much to add to the conversation for a little while.>>732408
"Just woke up, yeah."
"I was out like a light, apparently. Last I remember seeing was the red storm. Then came the nightmares…" She drifts off for a minute. "…How did you manage to get back here? Last time you seemed fairly bent on splitting ways." Her gaze lingers on your many scars and missing parts. >>732410
It doesn't seem to have any magic clinging to it. If you want to save her soul, you'll have to find something else.>>732413
She gives you an odd look. "I… Well. We've all done awful things, haven't we. There's no sense in squabbling over what was. We're all on the same side here. There's more important things than keeping grudges over nothing." She cradles her tankard for a bit before raising it to you. "To new beginnings. Hm?">>732415
Marisol takes a seat opposite you, thoughtfully eyeing you. "Bit for your thoughts?" she asks out of the blue.>>732415>>732413>>732408
The stew is surprisingly good, a hearty vegetable meal to wash down the heavy memories of today. Though he can't drink, Etrigan takes a tankard himself, raising it and reciting an old prayer:
"Should pale death, with treble dread, make the ocean caves our bed, Gods who hear the surges roll deign to save our suppliant soul."
Marisol hesitates, but drinks to that.
Dawn doesn't eat much, her mind seemingly fixed on Violet. "There must be a way to make things right," she says quietly to herself. She seems withdrawn from the table conversation.
Rabi lets out a soft sigh, before rolling his shoulders. "I… I don't know. I just feel like things could've gone so much better. Maybe I made the wrong call in going down into the lower levels like that. I was worried about the…" he trails off, before gesturing to his face. "-that maybe I just didn't check things as well as I could've, or should've."
"My goal was never to part permanently, simply to find the proper motivation. I believe I have it now. I'm sorry I wasn't there during such troubling times."
Hermodur enjoys his meal in silence as the prayer is said.
Zunden rubs her head, frustrated. "Zhere muzt be one zuch artifact in our pozezzion zomewhere. Zomezhing known to be capable of holding a zoul.
She looks to Norvegicus baggy eyelids wrought with exhaustion from events not known to him, "We'll need to take inventory of all ze artifactz on ze zhip. I know not what many of ze ozher'z do, but I know we muzt have ze implimentz aboard zhiz zhip zomewhere."
''Do you think we could perhaps make one?'' Aegis says, peeking from the half-open door
"Quite right." i reply, raising my own tankard with her, before taking a sip.>>732800
"Rabi dear, you mustn't place all the fault on yourself. Your scouting was as accurate as it could be, we were simply unprepared for the further patrols in the lowers levels." i add, looking concerned.
I bite my bottom lip. "No luck then?" I try to think of what I have that might work. "Really all I can think of is Purdue, the Doll, maybe one of the harbingers. You have any other ideas?"
"Thoze are your own artifactz yez, I waz wondering of ozherz zhough. Could you bring ze doll here?
Zunden seems alarmed at the extra voice, turning to Aegis, "Glaze? How long have you been zhere? I could try, yez, but I know not ze firzt zhing about it. Zhiz muzt zucceed, and I wizh to have az little doubtz about it az I can. Could you azk ze ozherz about what artifactz zhey might have zhat could contain a zoul?
"Yeah. Sure, I think I left her in my room. I'll-" I turn and rush to the door. "I'll be right back!" I yell over my shoulder. I run back to my room and start looking around for the doll.
''Six minutes. I came to bring you dinner, since I did not see neither of you at the table''
Aegis walks in and places two bowls of warm soup at Zunden's table>>732807
''Please eat it before it gets too cold''
With that, the crystal mare left the room>>732804>>732801>>732800
Aegis returns to the table, silently looking over everyone ''Zunden and Norvegicus are making attempts to bring Violet back somehow. Zunden requested that you bring her any items that you think might contain a soul or have the ability to hold one within''
With that, Aegis turns around and starts heading to her room, but stops and turns around, facing Rabi ''But before that. Master Rabi, I have a favor to ask'' She walks up to the Saudi stallion ''Could you show me the Astral projection technique one more time?''
"Motivation?" she asks, curious to know more. "How so? It must have been something dreadful. You look… different.">>732800>>732804
"Silver's right," Dawn says quietly. "There was no other path we could have taken through the city. What happened was no one's fault."
She thinks for a moment. "Rabi. That music box you had me examine. …May I keep it for a while? If it was able to trap a soul…" she trails off.>>732805"Yes, I'm still here,"
Purdue chimes in, for the first time in what feels like forever. "I'd prefer if you didn't use me for soul trapping magic, thank you. I value my existence. Sorry.">>732807You find the little burlap button-eyed doll. Some force animates it as it wanders around the room aimlessly, as if trying to get its bearings. As you enter, it turns and looks at you in shock, almost sinking to its knees, overwhelmed by emotion.>>732808
Marisol frowns a little. "You wish to… bring your friend back from the dead? That's powerful, dangerous magic. I don't have anything of the sort. I would warn you and your friends to tread lightly. The worlds of the dead and living should not cross."
Dawn shoots Rabi a glance. "I was about to discuss that. I believe he has something that might be of use."
''It is not my wish to bring Violet back, but I will assist with it if I can''
"I… I probably shouldn't, yeah." he says, letting out a soft sigh. "I just don't want anyone to get hurt anymore. The stuff in the desert was bad enough, you know?">>732808>>732810
"I… I think I might, actually. It's a weird little music box I picked up a while ago. Haven't made much progress on it, but I'm pretty sure there's someone in it. You can go ahead and take it, if the two of you need it.">>732809
Rabi looks away from Dawn and Silver, and lets out a somewhat uneasy whinny "I'm pretty sure I could, yeah. Is it important?"
"Yeah, I wasn't actually going to use you," I assure Purdue. "Just thinking of things that might work, and you kind of already proved you-" I freeze as I see the doll. After a moment I finish. "Work… uh… hi?"
''I will take it to Zunden then, thank you. And yes, it would help me if you could. There is something I want to try''>Taking Rabi's music box
"Ah. Zhank you, Aegiz.
Zunden sits crosslegged, trying to relax and just catch her breath, already exausted after the ordeal with the Oneiromancer and now sitting next to the corpse of one of her friends trying to finish dinner.
"My motivation is protecting you all," Hermodur comments, sounding a bit sour. "You think that to be so dreadful?"
"Well… alright, I guess. Let's just make it quick- I still don't know the full details of this link thing." he says, swishing his tail a little. "When?"
Rabi sits up a little straighter and nods, and tries to focus as well as he can. He'll do his best to forget about the scarring on his snout, and slip out of his physical body.>Astral Projection
Aegis pays close attention, and lets the magical energies from Rabi's spell resonate in her. Once Rabi's body goes limp, Aegis looks at the air just above it, hoping to be staring straight at Rabi's soul ''Thank you Master Rabi. I think I got it, you can return to your body now''>>732810
With that, Aegis returns to her room to retrieve her Ebony Cat Harbinger and brings it along to Zunden's room>>732815
A couple minutes later,Aegis's familiar three polite knocks are heard on Zunden's door
The doll takes a few steps towards you tentatively, walking right up to you. It pauses again before hugging your leg. It doesn't seem to want to let go.>>732815
You have some of Aegis' vegetable stew while you wait. It's actually pretty good. It'd be even better if it were hot.>>732814
"If you don't mind, I'll come with you," says Dawn. "I'd like to run some experiments on this artifact.">>732814>>732815
Aegis returns with the music box, Dawn following her in. She greets Zunden with her usual solemn nod. "I believe this may begin to make things right," she says. >>732816
"Nono!" She looks taken aback. "I meant it just… it looks like you went through some hard times, is all. Didn't mean anything by it. I'm just curious what made you change your mind.">>732804>>732816
The conversation is interrupted once again as Lily comes in, looking disturbed. "There's… some kind of lizard on the ship," she says. "If you didn't know. It tried to bite me." Marisol raises an eyebrow.
She politely excuses herself and takes a seat at the table, helping herself to some stew if there are no objections. "So, um. What were we talking about?" She seems eager to make conversation.>>732819
You slip out of your body. As you do so, your mind is wracked by voices, blurred images, a dark room lit by candles. It's Marisol and her sister. They seem to be having a violent confrontation."Ellie, please. You know what she would have done. I couldn't have stopped it. I couldn't…""You knew! You knew what she was planning, and you never told me! Look at me! LOOK AT ME!""Don't…"
Marisol's voice wavers. "Don't do this. It's me…"
The vision fades, and you find yourself in your astral form. The brief vision seems to have all been in your mind's eye; not a second of time has passed.
I open my mouth, close it, open it again, and close it again. Reaching out, I softly pat her on the head. "I'm a little busy right now," I tell her, "So I can't just stay here and talk to you right now, but you can come with me." I gently try to pick her up and, if she lets me, head back to the room. "Zunden!" I yell. "I'm not sure the doll is an option!"
Zunden investigates the box herself, not knowing it's enchantments.
[1d10+2] Bask'd AntiquarianRoll #1 5 + 2 = 7
Zunden turns her head, "What iz ze matter?
''I will also attempt something myself'' Aegis says, producing the Harbinger and placing it upon the ground ''I always wanted to test to see if the Harbingers had souls inhabiting them, and now the oppportunity to it presents itself. If I cannot possess it, then it either cannot hold a soul or it already has one, which we can then extract and see if it can be a suitable vessel for Violet''
With That Aegis's shield glows faintly as she sits down ''Please be careful with my body''>Astral Projection
"She, uh…" I look down at the doll. "She's sorta alive already. It'd be like putting it in Purdue."
Between the memory leaving him scrambled and the dulled noises of the Astral Realm, the stallion doesn't quite catch the first bit of what Aegis said. He wastes little time in snapping back to his own physical form.>End Astral Projection
Rabi awakens with a bit of a groan, and rubs at his head. "Looks like it's every time, then. Another bad memory of Elaina's."
"Ah, that would be Zunden's pet. Not to worry, it shouldn't be a danger at that size, i'm sure.. though we may want to let zunden know it escaped her room."
"I've plans to speak with her anyway, if she ever arrives to dinner. There was the matter of a map we found in the crates, magical in nature but illegible. I don't suppose you recall adding it to the supplies?"
The doll clings to you like its life depends on it. Every so often, it looks up at you, its expression unreadable due to its nature. "How queer,"
Purdue comments. "What do you suppose this means?">>732823
You turn the little music box over in your hands. You can definitely sense some potent magical energy coming from it. It is small, with some decorative engravings all over it. There is a little metal statuette of a ballerina pony on it, and it has a little windup function on the side.>>732825
You settle in and depart your body, looking down to the Harbinger. You sense something that you couldn't before as you examine it; a soul, perhaps, or something artificial resembling such to power it. Further examination would be required.>>732827
Marisol looks over with a furrowed brow. "Elaina? What did you see?">>732828"I thought it just wandered the ship as it pleased,"
Etrigan comments. Lily looks a bit afraid. "It's… going to get bigger?"
"Oh, the map! Yes. …I have no idea how it works. Sorry. My brother Aylward grabbed it from a Minister's stash. It's probably valuable. I think miss Dawn or miss Zunden would be able to help, for sure.
"…Actually, now I think about it, I have seen it glow, from time to time. It seems to happen every few weeks. And only at night."
"A Moon Scroll!" Aurora blurts excitedly. A few heads turn to her. "I remember those. It has a sort of password, or a key. It's only legible in the light of a full moon, and even then you have to write a certain word to get it to reveal the contents. The Abbot used to have some in his private collection at the monastery. I never read them. Obviously."
"It might be, ah… a little personal. Do you want me to talk about it out here?"
She looks somber. "…There's… bad blood between us. There has been for a long time. I haven't seen Elaina in… It must be going on half a year. And now, well, I don't think it matters if you do or not. I doubt I'll be seeing her any time soon." She purses her lips and nods. "Say it. I don't have anything to hide."
"Ah. In that case, it was some sort of fight between the two of you. She was upset about what'd, you know… happened. She said you'd known what 'she' was planning. I'm guessing this has to do with what happened to her?"
Aegis looks upon it for a few seconds and approaches it, trying to interact with it somehow ''Hello. Can you understand me?'' She says as she lifts an ethereal hoof to touch it
'1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
"…Waz zhe alive before?
Zunden continues to examine the device in the meantime, not content with just knowing it's magical.
[1d10] antiqRoll #1 1 = 1
"I, uh…" I look down at the doll and knit my brow. "I mean she wasn't moving before. As far as I know this is new."
"Not for a while yet, it is
but a hatchling." i reply, waving the concern off with a wing. "Zunden will most certainly have things under control by then."
"Now, as for this 'moon scroll', it seems without the key we're quite out of luck. I don't suppose your brother found a password from the same place as the map?"
"Ztrange, espezially conzidering ze circumztanzez.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
"I mean, maybe a little strange, but I haven't been paying a lot of attention to the doll either, so-" I shrug. I knit my brow and look down at her again. "Why? What are you saying?"
She looks away. "…It does. Grosvenor had told me of her plans to push her into the Astral Plane. As her personal assassin, she saw it as an upgrade. That's what we were to her. Tools. …I…" She falters.
"…I couldn't tell her. I wanted to. But she would have killed us. Both of us. And the dishonor… the shame… Th… The Cerwyn family has served the Grosvenors for generations. …I… broke that bond. I couldn't abide her any longer. No matter the cost."
She shifts her clothes to the side a bit, revealing several claw marks over where her heart is. "She tried to kill me. Because she found out. She knew that I didn't lift a finger to stop it. And I didn't stop her when she clawed me either. …I deserved it. I let that witch torture my sister. She's barely alive anymore. Because of me."
She sniffs and wipes her face. "I'm sorry. It's an old wound. I'm sorry you've gotten tangled in this mess. What happened between us is history. We're on different paths for now, but eventually, the bill comes due. Isn't it so?" She forces a bitter smile and drains her tankard.>>732833>>732834
No response. It doesn't seem to be alive, at least not in the same way you are. It is a magical simulacrum of life, activated only on command. It could host a soul, perhaps, but it'd have to be deactivated permanently to serve as such.>>732839https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znsUh6vBWLI
Winding up the music box makes the little ballerina come to life - quite literally. She is fixed in place, dancing as if compelled to by some unseen force, occasionally shooting you a long, forlorn glance. She seems sad. You get the feeling that this music box does indeed host a soul, bound to the ballerina itself. To sever it would be to kill her for good. Though, perhaps this isn't such a bad thing. To you, the ballerina seems an unwilling captive, longing to be set free.>>732836
Purdue looks at the doll, who is looking up at you almost pleadingly. "You don't suppose…? No, it's quite impossible, she was nowhere near it. Pay me no mind.">>732837
Lily shakes her head. "Not that I know of. Perhaps if we could find someone skilled in magical codebreaking? Withick's a large town. We could ask around there. Maybe."
"Come to think of it," Marisol chimes in, "didn't those two saurians mention knowing someone there? Maybe they could point us in the right direction…">roll Insight to recall who Rosen and Gilder spoke of, if you can't actually remember
Satistfied, Aegis returns to her body >>732842>>732839
''Seems like the Harbingers are suitable for vessels. This one has a soul, or at least something that slightly resembles it, an artificially made soul. Now I wonder… Do we have the means to extract a soul from a vessel? Or at least destroy it?''
"You don't need to apologize, Marisol." the stallion says, reaching out and settling a hoof on to her shoulder. "I know this isn't the way you'd probably want someone to find out, but… if you need to talk to someone about this kinda stuff, I'm fine listening. And, hey… maybe there's a way to fix it, or at least bury the hatchet somewhat."
"I believe so, though with the events of earlier it slipped my mind. hmm.." i trail off, tapping my head with a hoof as i try to recall what the pair mentioned.
[1d10] RecallRoll #1 5 = 5
"Az doez zhiz artifact hold ze zoul of a tormented danzer. Eizher way, I would zhink to uze Zeveranze to remove ze releaze ze zoul from it'z bindingz, Return to bring Violet'z zoul back to her body, and Union to bind her zoul to an object. Already an intenzive ritual, and zhat iz not even what waz detailed for ze rezzurection ritual itzelf.
As she speaks, she sleepily draws a Union rune in the air, trying to beckon forth an orb.
[1d10+1] Union (Frozen)Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9
He looks from the doll to Violet's remains. The former seems transfixed by the latter. "I think it might be her, brother,"
Purdue says quietly.>>732844
She appreciates the gesture, looking a little self conscious. "Thank you. I appreciate that. …If you see her again, let me know. I… I hope she's safe. Wherever she is. …I want to find a way to free her from Grosvenor. If I can. And reverse what's been done, if she'd even let me try." She looks down at her hands. "…You don't suppose there's room for forgiveness in her heart, is there?">>732845
You recall them mentioning traveling to Withick next to deal with someone called Sprig. A collector, you think. More than that eludes you.>>732846
You draw the symbol of Union in the air. It appears and coalesces into three burning wheels of energy. "Do you think it will work?"
Purdue asks. "It seems terribly risky. I can't even imagine what the consequences would be if this goes awry."
I stare down at the doll with my mouth agape. I'd only just stopped crying, but I can't stop tears from welling up in my eyes again as I look down at her. "V-" I try to say, but my voice catches. With a little bit of effort, I manage to croak, "Vi?"
"Fair, ze zpirit wizhin could be a banzhee for all we know. It iz why I have zhaught out zheze artifactz, not created a phylactery zhrough guezzwork.
" Zunden speaks to the skull, summoning more orbs.
[1d10+1] Severance (Frozen)Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
I hold a hand up. "Hold on," I say. "Wait a second. If this is her then doesn't that mean we just need to do the ritual? I-I don't know if we should go moving her around like- like we're reshelving a book or something if she's already-" I swallow. "Well, in
"Ah, they mentioned somepony named 'Sprig' in Withick, likely they are the collector the two left to meet with. I suppose we could ask around town for them when we arrive, with luck we may yet find what this map holds."
Zunden looks to the doll, then back to Norv, "Zhere iz anozher portion of the ritual onze ze zoul iz bound to an object. However, we know not if ze doll iz activated by grieving or zomezhing of ze zort. I zhould look it over again.
"I think… there might be. You're family, after all. There has to be some part of her left in there. If anything, maybe this link'll give me a chance to see more about her- see if we can find her in there." he says, shrugging a little. "I'll ask Black Pudding abotu ways to fix something like that- there has to be a way."
I hug the doll, trying not to be too rough with her. "Alright, I just- if it is her I just don't want something to get messed up and end up losing her. For good."
After, I try to hold her out.
The doll looks up at you as you call her name. Though her button eyed countenance bears no expression, you can feel the anguish of the soul within. She clings to you in distress, fearful of what's happened to her.>>732849>>732850
You pull up a Severance rune. It pops into existence and floats idly behind your head, spinning slowly like some sort of halo.>>732852
The other four shrug. The name doesn't mean anything to them. "It sounds like a good way to make some money," Aurora comments. "I'm sure there's a bunch of stuff we could sell."
"It'll be good to get to lay low for a while, " says Marisol, looking over from her conversation with Rabi. "I hoped we'd get the chance in Last Hearth, but…"
Lily nods. "A new life. I can't even imagine what it'll be like. What do you suppose Withick looks like? Is it a great, sprawling city? Filled with all manner of curious denizens?"
"It's actually rather small," Marisol comments.
"Oh…" Lily looks disappointed."If nothing else,"
says Etrigan, "if we can find a way to decipher that Moon Scroll, we might get a heading on where to hide the Egg. Whatever this map holds - if it is a map - someone didn't want it to be found.">>732854
Marisol nods. "That's what I'm hoping too. Please do keep me updated on whatever you see of her. Maybe you'll see something more recent."
"You know Black Pudding as well?" she says. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. He's a powerful figure in this land. A valuable ally too, if you get on his good side. I dealt with him while running errands a few times. I suppose if anyone knows how to investigate this bond between you, he will."
I give her a warm smile in spite of my tears. "It's okay," I assure her. "We already know a way to fix this. It'll be okay."
"Aegiz, I'd azk you look into the nature of the doll in ze zpirit realm az well, I would prefer to enzure we do not let anozher creature ozher zhan Violet pozzezz ze body of her if at all pozzible.
Zunden reaches out to the doll, using the determination to get Violet back fuel her scrying into the nature of the artifact.
"That's what we're hoping. Maybe he can give us some insight on this connection, and what's happening to me- the floating, the memories, all of it." He says, before sighing a little as he thinks about the shared memories. "I don't really know enough to have a set pattern, but… it sounds like they're in order. Goodness knows what's she's seeing of me."
I nod at hearing Etrigan's idea.
"Now there's a thought, somepony going to such lengths to enchant a moon scroll to hide something must mean they're confident enough to trust their hiding spot. All we'd have to do is simply trade whatever is hiding there with the egg, add a few severance runes courtesy of zunden and destroy the map!"
Violet nods, continuing to cling to you, frightened and confused. Despite everything, it's still her. Mostly.>>732859
Violet reluctantly lets go of Norv, walking over to you and letting you examine the doll body. You take in every aspect of the artifact. Apart from the surface level details, you sense the magical enchantment on the box at its core. A word floats through your mind: Crucible.This thing. This homunculus of a body. It feeds on death. Any death it can find. It ensnares wayward souls, fueled by the emotions of the deceased, claiming them as its own. It has no soul to call its own, craving them, trapping them within its vessel to be alive, to feel, to breathe. It is a parasite.So what will you do, Zunden? This Crucible only wishes for a life of its own. Are you going to deny it that chance?
Again those intrusive thoughts. It's not the Oneiromancer's doing, that's for sure. It's like someone else is inside your head, commenting on your magical endeavours. You see Dawn grow uneasy, shifting on the spot. "…Did you feel something just now?" she asks. "Like a shadow passing over…">>732860
She nods. "If only he were easy to find," she comments. "I doubt he'll be anywhere we're going. We shouldn't rely on finding Black Pudding any time soon."
As you mention trying to make sense of the memories. "Maybe you could try again sometime. See what else you can see. Perhaps with enough trying, you'll be able to make sense of it all. Or maybe they're just snippets.">>732861"The problem is, we don't know what it leads to. It could be something as dangerous or significant as the Egg itself. We could be trading one burden for another."
"Only one way to find out," Aurora shrugs. "Hopefully we can decipher that scroll and get some sense of direction."
"Maybe… I guess I'm just a little worried. This isn't just limited to memories, as we've found out already- I think I want to find out more, but I don't want to lose myself in the process." he says, gesturing to the scars.
''Very well. Let me see if I can'' Aegis closed her eyes and sat down again, refocusing on the magic to leave behind her body and to examine the doll in spirit form>Astral Projection
"Do we have to trade items?" Hermodur offers his two cents. "Couldn't we just hide it in there with whatever is already in there?"
I hold Violet close to me and look up at Z. The sting in my eyes is still there, and my vision is still a little blurry, but I definitely have more hope than I did a few minutes ago. "So you think it'll work, then?"
"True, if whatever is hiding there is better off hidden i suppose leaving the egg with it would save us quite the headache."
"We'll have to see once we have access to the map's key."
"Ze item had ze fortune effect of having a nature in zhat it grabz hold of newly dead zoulz and uzez zhem to have it'z own animation and movement. Removing ze zoul will remove it'z ability to function, but it'z nature can be applied to any zoul. It can remain it'z functionlezz form again until we perhapz give it anozher ozher zhan Violet. Zhere zhouldn't be a complication on zhat end.
>Assuming i can bask without another post so you don't have to extend this part with another post>Bask: Severance
crushing the dim severance orb in her claw, she severs Violet's corpse off from any and all microorganisms for the time being, essentially preventing all decay.>Spending held Severance rune, instant auto
She goes to immediately make another one in it's place.
[1d10+4] Severance (Frozen) [+1 from talent, 1 from supernova, 2 from bask]Roll #1 8 + 4 = 12
One azpect I have yet to mention. Ze ritual… it requirez someone cloze to ze dezeazed. To aide ze tranzfer of ze zoul back to ze body, half of anozher'z muzt be given. I…" Zunden looks down, "I waz planning to zacrifize my own and not tell you at all, to eaze your burden given what you've went zhrough already. I juzt… I know you two were ze clozezt. I didn't to azk anyzhing of you while grieving but I'm beginning to doubt myzelf if my connection wizh her truely waz zhat deep. Would you..
Could you do zhiz for her Norvegicuz Black?"
"Understandably so," she nods, looking at the scars. "For better or worse, there's a connection there. Maybe next time you meet face to face, you can talk to her. See if she won't see reason. There has to be a way to break Grosvenor's hold on her.">>733204
You depart your body once again, shifting into the astral plane. While you can't see anything different, you feel a presence coming from the doll. Like when you know someone else is close, but can't see or hear them. A strange, knowing feeling. And not entirely a pleasant one.
There's something else there too. A feeling of fear, of desperation. Of being trapped in a cage. You get the feeling Violet's there, but not of her own free will.>>733205"Much more viable,"
Etrigan agrees with a nod. "We have enough to worry about as is."
Aurora concedes as well. "Whatever's hidden there might be useful to us in some way," she points out. "But best to let it be, I suppose. We'll have to wait and see where it's leading us first.">>733206
She clings to you as best she can, overwhelmed with confusion, fear, and distress.>>733207
Dawn nods. "With any luck, we'll be able to find the answers we seek in Withick. This Sprig person is our best bet for now, anyway.">>733208
You cleanse the body of decay, making her essentially a perfect corpse. Without stopping to rest, you conjure up another orb of Severance, imbuing it with all your strength. The four-lobed eye materializes in a flash, hovering idly behind you.
The rest of the night passes by, and you retreat to your quarters. The next few days of travel are relatively uneventful.
Violet, her soul transferred into the Crucible doll, is extremely scarce, hardly ever leaving the room. The others only catch occasional glimpses of her. Purdue keeps her company most of the time, being able to relate to her current condition.
Lily grows more accustomed to the ship, avoiding Ganzen like the plague. He doesn't seem to like her. Most of the time, she can be found exploring the ship, ogling party members from a distance, or watching the scenery enraptured. You get the feeling she admires you all.
Etrigan tests the limits of his new abilities, usually taking over piloting duties from Zunden. Despite being bound to the ship, he seems in good spirits, and doesn't seem to mind his predicament.
Aurora grows stronger by the day, still finding it difficult to walk but practicing more and more, using a makeshift cane for now. She stays above deck mostly, keeping Lily company, or practicing her singing up in the crow's nest.
Marisol is more withdrawn, usually brooding quietly somewhere, or reading some old books. She and Dawn have a bit of a bond, often discussing their plans for the future.
After a couple days traveling, the ship begins its approach to Withick, and you gather on the top deck to survey the area.
Situated in a bayou, the rickety looking town of Withick is built on tall, wooden stilts, with a system of gondolas and canoes connecting different sections of it. At some points, you can see portions of Withick built surrounding enormous mangrove trees that sprout out of the waters of the swamp. At one end of town, you can see some sort of huge stone castle jutting out of the swamp, looking completely out of place.
The atmosphere is muggy, and you feel the bite of many a mosquito as you approach. The humid air carries a faint smell of sulfur. Despite its precarious location, Withick looks to be bustling, and its inhabitants cheerful.
"Livelier than I remember it," Marisol comments. "With any luck, we'll be able to lay low here for a while. Perhaps even complete some work."
"Not a place I would've ever chosen to go," Aurora says on the side, swatting a mosquito on her neck. "But it's better than nothing. Who knows, maybe appearances are deceiving."
I swallow. Half of my soul
? That's a little scary. Looking down at Violet, then up at her corpse, I know there's only one answer I can actually give. I turn back to Zunden and, with as determined a look as I can manage, nod.>>733211
For the most part I spend the entire time in my room, keeping both Violet and Purdue company. With the whole ordeal I have a lot of time to get lost in my own head. I keep coming back to my conversation with Silver that night at the tavern. Getting out there, taking risks, actually acting
on what comes into my head- It was supposed to actually help me.
And for the most part it had, but has that been because of luck, or because I'm actually stronger and smarter than I've realized? I was really starting to think it was the latter, but after what happened…
I lie back in my bed and cover my head with my pillow. Not only did I end up leaving all those slaves behind to die, but I killed Violet. It pure luck that I picked up the doll. Pure luck that I helped Carnifex and we actually managed to find a way to bring her back. I know too well that luck doesn't last forever.
So where does that put me? Should I actually even keep trying? Or should I just take Violet and get out of here, like we'd planned in the sands. Find a city –any city– and just take a damn break? What if I end up getting someone else killed and we can't
do something to bring them back? How will I live with myself?
Aegis returns to her body with a sudden gasp for breath, eyes wide for a moment before almost instantly she returned to her usual expression
''It is her'' Aegis turns to Zunden and Norv ''There is no mistaking it, Master Norvegicus. Violet has somehow ended up inside of that doll''>>733211
Aegis woke up with a faint shine to her. If it was either a result of finally having a proper bath the last few nights, having a decent meal or just being in a good mood is anyone's guess
''So long as we can avoid any hostiles. I fear that eventually Lysander might buy every single settlement in the echoes to stop us'' Aegis spoke up, looking at Marisol ''What can you tell us about this place, Master Marisol?''
Learning of Violet's unusual status, the occasional glance of the doll, gives me a flicker of hope.
the majority of the time goes smoothly, organizing the items from the boxes into the kitchen for later use, occasionally pondering over the map, fruitless it may be without the key.
having shed the heavier armor for the under-dress due to the weather, i fan myself with a wing as we approach the swamp.
"My word, quite a difference in environment to the lakes and deserts. I should hope they've found some form of repellent for these insects as well." i add, waving away a mosquito with my tail.
"It would likely be best to park a ways from town, important to hide the ship and all."
Hermodur spends most of his time in the crow's nest of the ship. He finds it a nice place to relax away from everyone. Also, being a predator with cat eyes and ear, he's probably the best choice for lookout. That combined with his feeling of responsibility to keep everyone safe drives him to be the self-appointed lookout.
"I don't see a problem with it," Hermodur says to Aurora as he climbs down from the crow's nest. "I imagine the reason this place is livelier is because more and more people are trying to get away from the pressure of Lysander and the other organized lawlessness that seems to plague the more populated areas."
Rabi looks at the swamp with a bit of shock as they approach, and shrugs a little "I don't think I've ever seen something like this. I don't think I like how wet it feels, but any chance to rest'll be good. I feel like we haven't had a chance to catch our breath in ages." he says, rolling his shoulders out.>>733214
"They have to- we had stuff to repel scorpions back home."
Passing out for nearly the entire day after the events of the previous night, though even with the sleep she's wracked with worries and weariness from the ritual she's to perform later. She spends the other day catching up with Aurora to catching her up with everything that's occurred and giving her plenty of hugs.
Zunden leans against the side of of the ship looking down at the rickety town, turning back to Lily. "Zhiz iz where you will part wayz, zhen?
Violet continues to keep you company silently. In lieu of sharing a bed, for fear of being crushed, she has taken to sleeping on top of the bedside table, as it's big enough to be a bed for her. Purdue rests on the cabinet. "Bit for your thoughts, brother?"
he asks quietly, breaking the glum silence.>>733213
She shrugs. "Not much. It's a rather quiet little town. Hidden away from much of the troubles of the Echoes. The inhabitants keep to themselves more often than not. I only came here once before, and it was much quieter than now. It seems to be doing well for itself.">>733214
Etrigan helps you unpack the boxes. They mostly consist of an assortment of clothes for both urban and outdoors wear, in a variety of shapes and sizes. The other two crates, as you've seen, contain enchanted foods and tools respectively.
Aurora nods in agreement, flicking her ear. "Maybe some incense or something like that would help…"
"Oh, are we in a swamp?" Dawn asks, completely oblivious. "That'd explain it…">>733215
Aurora nods, thinking about this. Marisol agrees as well. "I suppose it's only a matter of time before his eye turns to this place as well. I don't think he'll stop until he has complete control over every corner of the Echoes.">>733217
Lily nods. "I suppose so. It's been nice traveling a bit with you, but I don't know if I'm cut out for it. I really appreciate how much you've helped me though. And… I'm sorry about what happened. Back there, I mean. I hope you manage to make things right…">>733217>>733216>>733215>>733214>>733213>>733212
Etrigan takes control of the ship, piloting it downward into a hill rising out of the nearby swamps. Because of the lack of open terrain, you are forced to land a bit further away than usual from civilization.
Looking around from where you are, you can see a boardwalk which seems to lead towards Withick, though it seems to have been broken at one point by an unknown entity. You can only go so far before the wooden boards give way to the swamp below. Your options seem to be to either try to cross the rotting wood, or go a longer way around and wade across through the trees to the town.
"Hmm… well, I guess the bridge is a no-go. As much as I'd prefer not to disturb… whatever's in that water, wading might be the better option."
I uncover my head and look over at Purdue. Sitting up on the bed, I let out a long sigh. "I don't know, I just-" I shake my head. "Later maybe. Seems like we stopped. Guess we found our next stop." I pull myself to my feet, walk over, pick him up, and tie him onto my carrying rope. I knit my brow and look over at Vi. "Did you want to come too? I wouldn't mind carrying you if you want."
"We will get by. I wizh you a life more fufilling and zafer zhan it waz in ze previouz town.
" Zunden nods, looking out at the rotten board walk and prepping a Return rune carved into the ship.
"I will go about seeing if I can return the boardwalk into it's once functional state. Give me some time." Zunden announces after clearing her throat, not wishing the others get in danger.
"I only worry for ze chanze ze doll iz lozt while exploring elzewhere. I have done many preparationz, I would hate for anozher complication." Zunden says wearily.
"And then people will leave this place as well. The nice part about the Echoes is that it's infinite… seemingly. Lysander will wear himself thin eventually.">>733218>>733220>>733219>>733217>>733214
"The fastest way between two points is a straight line," Hermodur suggests as they decide how to get across the swamp.
''Lets see if Zunden can get the bridge up first. If not we can use the water eaters. I prefer to stay away from the filth after the trouble I had to properly clean myself this morning''